I sit amongst packed boxes in a room that is becoming less of my space and more of a shell to fill for another. I see my roomie and good friend Shawn Luco off for the last time as a room-mate and I think of the things that will be a series of final acts before I leave this house I have made my home for the past 12 years, and the weight sits heavily in my heart.
This is no flighty prance from one place to another. This is a major shift in reality.
I sort through years of collected possessions and pieces of history, papers, trinkets, and relics worn brittle and dusty with age. Part of me wonders why in the hell I keep all of this crap while part of me is mourning long-held memories…..love notes from girlfriends, bad pictures I thought were cool at the time, beer coasters from a great night out in another country, foreign coins, horrible hand written drunken diatribes, broken promises on the backs of notepads, power plugs twisted beyond use, years of collected published writing the world will never see again. It’s crazy the things we keep! They are the things we pretend that make us more “us” but when you really look at them they are just dusty old fossils that make us sneeze and perhaps a bit annoyed because they’ve been taking up so much space for so long and no longer have a place except in memory.
Some would say that I am an extremist in how few possessions I actually have and I suppose that is true, especially as I grow older and more aware of what is important for me. But still, this mess has proven difficult to go through, and maybe it’s because of 12 years spent sitting and collecting. Apart from the great books, albums, and clothing I still wear……who needs a play-dough happy face crafted by a kid I lived with over 16 years ago, aside from some shred of my ego that still wants to hold on to the past?
Memories will last for a lifetime or until I’m an old grey shell drooling into a paper cup and pooping in my adult diapers.
But believe me, while I have made residence here at 1802 Franklin the memories collected have been the richest I have experienced so far, and none of them carry dust or are in need of being filed away in a box for Value Village.
The beginning was a breeze with some road bumps. The couple, Christine and Brett who lived upstairs were reclusive gems who I grew to adore and were the first complete strangers who I actually felt comfortable with under a shared roof, as little as I got to know them. Frustration came with the hip-hop guy Dov, who lived across the hall from me and would shuffle around with his McDonalds food and shitty girlfriend in tow, later leaving his McDonalds trash on the table and a listless feeling all around. Before him was Neale the graffiti artist who’d make his living taking odd jobs while disappearing for weeks on end making spray can art across the country, only to appear near rent day to pay up and then disappear again for a few more weeks.
And then there was Ben. Sweet Ben-jammin, who was in a hip-hop crew with Dov and a few others. Ben was my favorite back in the beginning because even though he was a naïve young kid, he had big ideas and a big heart. I will never forget the day he phoned the house on the afternoon of September 11, 2001 and told me that he thought it was the Chinese who did it. I thought he was a jerk for suggesting that but to this day I’ll never forget his scared self just needing to talk to someone, however misguided he may have been.
Later on the house shifted into what became a home. After a month on my own I awaited new strangers who would fill this space, and fill it they did. Out of nowhere these three strong-willed, earth centered women came in and gave this house a light it hadn’t seen in years. Elise, Susanna, and Anastasia are given full credit for truly planting the seeds for what this place is now. I lived in a run down and grey looking space that I kept clean for a month and then they moved in and ran with it, painted happy hippy colors all over the place and started something even more beautiful.
There was Elise with her biking everywhere, low impact pre-hipster ways, Sue and her down to earth, digging in the ground garden ways, and Anastasia with her light heart, easy laugh, and big beautiful face….those ladies and a wild German Sheppard with gay hippy neck beads made this house a home. However much I was resistant to shifting I will forever be grateful for their modes of change and for pulling me out of my shell, even if for a little bit at a time.
Then came Sean, who was an odd character that I have yet to fully understand completely. He took over the room across from me, and was the always moving kinetic fellow who delivered piss samples to science labs and biked all over the place. He was the guy who was destined to do really good things in life and to this day I am amazed that not only he is still here, he has done amazing things in life, namely building a lot of shit I could never wrap my head around even if I tried as well as making a good living with a great partner in crime. Come end times and if I were to choose who to survive with, Clancy is the man!
And lets give a good long moment to Timothy Wisdom. I won’t take credit from anyone else here past or present but Tim is HUGE in this home. Tim the DJ, the scientist, the mathematical equinox, has brought SO very much to this space! I would have never experienced a true party had it not been for him. The music that he laid out on the table and the friends he brought to dance, celebrate, and lay down their weary head between these 4 walls is the stuff of legend. In fact, words don’t even give it legs. If you were near to here during that 5-7 year stretch then you know. All I can say is that if you grew up watching those 80’s movies where the house party is wall to wall deep with people and the music is loud, then you have just a tiny idea, only our parties were WAY sexier and really did go until the break of dawn.
From that party stage came Lucia, who dated Timothy and later married him for a brief spell. Lucia was a wonderful grounding force, a source of much folly, and the bringer of my favorite cat in the world, Tiga. Some of my most blessed moments were hearing Lucia laughing in the kitchen as well as sharing summer picnic table hang-outs with the captain chicken-heart kitty. I miss them both a lot.
And here we come to modern days, where the breed who live under this roof have been solid for years. Clancy’s partner Erica, who gardens, bakes, and can always be found with an easy laugh and dirt on her knees or under her nails. Or Martine, who flows like water and has the cutest giggle I’ve ever heard. I love her rock collecting, sage burning, blossoming spirit! Or Luco, who can throw a mean disk, grill a good BBQ, and has brought an awesome assortment of new friends to the mix.
These people. I love them all so SO much. I love how they challenge me and help me to grow. I love how they make me want to retreat and come out of my shell at the same time. I love their friends and their lives. I love how they have accepted me and my fucked up, non-committal, comedic, raunchy joke laden, just passing through lifestyle.
I love how I can come home and count on Erica to be making or baking or garden-growing a spread of food. I love how I can come home and find Clancy fixing or building or tinkering with something. I love how I can rely on a good laugh with Tim when we’re feeling up to conversing and hanging out. I love how much Luco and I love each other. I love how his sweet partner Martine brings stability and good nature to this old woody dusty home.
I love them. I love this space. I love my extended family. And I will miss them terribly.
The crippling nature of this shift is becoming more real by the day and in many ways I just want to put all of my shit back in place and close my door, but I know it’s time.
As hard as it may be, I know it is time.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all, past and present.
I love you. Always!