Since three months before Daddy died, I have been terrified of ending up homeless. It occurred to me today that a specified period of homelessness could be beneficial for me, a condition I should embrace rather than run from. Obviously, I am not speaking of giving up my apartment to sit on a park bench, but instead putting all my stuff that is worth holding on to into climate-controlled storage and embarking upon a limited career of couch-hopping.
I have a lot of friends here in the DC area, most of whom have been kind enough to volunteer their guest rooms when I have needed them, and to say that I am welcome to crash there in the future. Without wearing out my welcome at any one house (staying no more than a week, with two months between visits, and offering my hosts, say, $100 per stay plus a meal out for the whole family to cover any additional expenses their hospitality incurs) I think this is actually feasible. I would have to live light, not toting much with me, but wouldn’t this be an even healthier modern alternative to a Walden retreat? After all, Thoreau went home every week to do his laundry, so a friend once told me.
I’d need someone to offer to be my "home" for legal purposes, even if I didn’t stay with her at all—somewhere to get my mail, whence to file my taxes, and so forth. I’d prefer to stay in Arlington County officially, even as I’d gallivant all over the Greater Washington area, because I love the Arlington library, particularly the online collection. Anita has a guest room, Susan has a guest room, Mary has a guest room, as does my boss (with whom one of my coworkers has been staying for several weeks until she was able to find an apartment). Leah has a very comfortable couch. The German professor that I befriended at Georgetown has a couple of guest rooms. Several other girlfriends and one young married couple I know may have room (three couples I know don’t have any extra space, and a single bathroom each, and I wouldn’t want to think of intruding on them).
I could keep a journal about my adventures, and eat lots of Trader Joe’s salads. I’d have to have my Christmas party somewhere else this year, but it’s doable. Rather than moving back to GA without any employment in place, I could remain here and work.
Let me test the waters by asking possible hosts directly, and see where that takes me. Eighteen months to economic freedom is an appealing prospect. And when I become a famous writer I could share stories of how I slept on friend’s couches while I was trying to make it big.