no one at home
why not walk around in your underwear
why not walk around in your underwear
why not walk
1. Clifton Park, Schenectady NY (1978-81). Don't remember much. A line of trees. A room with red carpeting. Holding my father's tennis racket, imitating him practicing forehands and backhands in the kitchen.
2. Moondance Street, Tucson AZ (1981). We lived in this townhome for a few months while looking for a house. My sister was only a few months old. There are home movies: screen doors leading out to a backyard filled with dust.
3. Stonehouse Place, Tucson AZ (1981-87). The longest stretch of time I have ever lived anywhere. My mother claims it's her favorite house out of all she's lived in, and it was certainly a beautiful place to grow up; stucco, Mexican tile, surrounded by desert and screened from the road by a long driveway whose steep angle I loved, except when I had to ride my bike down it. Occasionally we drive by and marvel at how tall the trees in the backyard have grown since my father planted them.
4. Hills Road, Cambridge, England (1987-88). We rented this from an anal English couple who inventoried everything in the house, down to the plastic spoons. One door was locked, but you could see through the old-style keyhole that it led to a spare bedroom. Everything within was shrouded in sheets. We started calling it "the ghost room" after a spectral young lady visited my father in his dreams.
5. Placita de Arnoldo, Tucson AZ (1988-91). Technically I lived here until 1996, but after my parents divorced and my mother moved out it stopped being my primary residence. My dad left only last year; I think all those rooms without a family to inhabit them had started to feel like a mausoleum. It was another beautiful house in its time. The closet doors were full-length mirrors that, when I woke in the morning, reflected a view of the mountains to my bed.
6. Skyline Village (I), Tucson AZ (1991-92). This was a bad year in many ways, because of the divorce, and because nobody is happy in the eighth grade. My mother did what she could, and my father sat through all the Star Trek movies with me, but still.
7. Villa Sin Vacas, Tucson AZ (1992-93). A ritzy housing development right up against the mountains, which also happened to contain apartments. The security guard at the gate was named "Taco." This is where I went walking alone at night, and encountered javelinas.
8. Wine Plum Drive, Tucson AZ (1993-96). I think this was supposed to be "Plum Wine," but the developers fucked it up when they registered with the city, and then it couldn't be changed. Ditto with Squirrel Trail Drive, which accidentally became Squirrel Tail Drive. My last year there Nik brewed bottles of mead and gave them as gifts to everyone, and then they started exploding. One fellow lost his video camera and most of his Playboys. I buried my bottle out behind the fence and then forgot about it; it may still be there.
9. Brittania [sic] Court (I), Reno NV (1996). Another bad registration with the city. Summer before college. Worked a lot. Nervous as hell.
10. Adelfa House, Stanford CA (1996-97). Met half of my close college friends. Played apple baseball in the hall. Took rafting trips on the lake at night.
11. Campbell Avenue, Tucson AZ (1997). Easily the weirdest summer of my life. During the day I slept on the floor at Nik's girlfriend's house. During the night we attempted to make a horror movie, but it was a terrible movie, and the futility of it made me listen to sad music at 3 in the morning and leave cigarette burns in the bathtub. Later I discovered that I almost got Nik's girlfriend kicked out of her apartment.
12. Twain House, Stanford CA (1997-98). Met the other half of my college friends, including lots of women. Took a lot of creative writing courses. Started a novel (bad, unfinished) and a band (loud).
13. Bitch Creek, Mountain View CA (1998). This was actually called "Birch Creek," but when I went to get a cashier's check for the deposit they typed it wrong, and henceforth it was Bitch Creek to us. That's about how the summer went. I was working at IBM and logging more hours asleep than awake and taking long nocturnal drives to places like Santa Cruz, because I was still in love with Lauren and you know what that makes people do.
14. Taxi House, Stanford CA (1998-99). The blue hair that kept fading to green. The intensive James Joyce study. The club we played in San Francisco. Ate a lot of pie.
15. Ralston Park, Reno NV (1999). Commuted daily to Carson City, where somehow I was helping the city government conduct a salary and benefits review of its employees. A seventeen-year-old girl in the office had a crush on me, which she expressed principally by telling me I was gay. This also happens to be the apartment where we made the gay pirate penguin movie.
16. Terra House, Stanford CA (1999-2000). A co-op, meaning a) I got to clean toilets and feel proletariat, and b) when my parents came to visit they exclaimed, "What a filthy place!"
17. Broderick Street, San Francisco CA (2000). Slept on our bass player's couch. Wrote the first draft (very bad) of the Central America/math novel. In the evenings Jen taught me how to cook.
18. Gilbert Street, Iowa City IA (2000-01). A studio that sort of looked like a motel from the outside. This is what happens when you rent apartments in Iowa sight unseen. I remember the snow and the rain, and the brief period of mental collapse that coincided with a massive insect infestation all over my front door. I had to buy a can of Raid and visit a holocaust upon the Anxiety Bugs, and the experience was so terrible that shortly afterward I resolved never purposely to kill an insect again.
19. Dubuque Street, Iowa City IA (2001-02). Here and here and here, for example. A little flat in a beautiful old colonial house with an octogenarian landlord, a block from the Workshop building. I miss it. The walls were thin and Aimee always worried that I could hear her in the bathroom, but no; the pipes obscured any personal noises. Apparently she could hear me playing the guitar.
20. Brittania [sic] Court (II), Reno NV (2002). A stopover before going to Tucson. I can't even remember what I did here. Mostly I was going on family trips to Italy or whatever.
21. Skyline Village (II), Tucson AZ (2002-03). I guess that with all this moving, it was inevitable that I would hit the same complex twice. It hasn't been bad here, just very very weirda little like being seventeen again, a little like being fifty. It's a very nice apartment; I think the problem is with me. I no longer belong in this city.
22. Madison Street, Portland OR (2003-?). Wish me luck.
This will be my twenty-first move in twenty-four years. I swear to God, it's like being an Army brat. The madness must stop.
They sinned against the light, Mr Deasy said gravely. And you can see the darkness in their eyes. And that is why they are wanderers on the earth to this day.