July 16, 2011
It is at moments like this that the reality hits home: I have lost my home. Now when I am in Slave Lake, my community for the past eight years, I have nowhere to hang out. I want to find somewhere where I can just walk into a room to complete everyday activities. I know I could go to my friends’ homes. I’m always welcome. Even if they don’t have time to visit, I could just go hang out in their living room. But that’s the point. It’s just another place to “hang out” while I’m passing the time.
If my house were still standing, I’d be at home right now, doing housework, cleaning or organizing something, working on a project, working on my computer, or any other everyday activity. I’m working on my computer right now, but I’m at a local coffee shop. I’m not in my own living room, or office, or bedroom. I’m not hanging out in my pajamas, housecoat, and slippers. I’m not sipping tea and watching the sun go down over the bushes across the street. I’m in the coffee shop, fully dressed (much to the delight of the other patrons), wearing my light jacket because the air conditioner works so well.
I do a lot of visiting when I come back to Slave Lake on the weekends. I think that is mostly to cover up the fact that I haven’t a home. It helps to pass the time, and, since I’m out meeting friends for coffee, it feels rather normal. After all, that’s what I‘d be doing if my house were still standing – meeting friends at the coffee shop. It helps me to forget that I’m homeless in my own town.
However, as the weeks go by and everyone (who still has a house) gets back into the routine of his or her lives, sitting around visiting with me is not something that can be done as often as I would like. The difference between those of us who are homeless and those who are not becomes greater as the time goes by. Basically, it comes back to the fact that I don’t have a place to hang out in my housecoat and slippers.
I wonder what they would do if I showed up at this coffee shop wearing my housecoat and slippers, carrying a big pillow? If I just curled up on a chair in the corner, made myself comfortable, kicked back and sipped my tea? Regardless of how accepting the staff and owners would be, it still wouldn’t be the same as sitting in my living room, in my rocking chair.