I was once accused of being transient. Transient – like it was a dirty word.
I looked around at what I had back then. A second floor apartment in a white stucco building downtown. A TV, a lawn chair for a chair, a lamp and an end table or two, a bed, a keyboard with bench and stand, and a couple kitchen items. The apartment was was simple and clean; newly remodeled. The kitchen appliances were brand new and rarely, if ever, used. In the evenings, palm fronds brushed against my windows, creating pretty silhouettes in the shadows. There was a coffee shop right across the street (Mother’s Milk I think it was called) where they had live entertainment in the evenings sometimes, and I could hear it from my windows. It made me feel like I was part of something, whether I went there or not. I made friends with a mechanic in the shop across the street, who invited me to his more inland house when there was a hurricane threat. A Turkish man owned the gas station next door and had great prices on wine. I could walk, rollerblade, or ride my bike most places.
When I moved there, everything I owned fit in my car. The car was a Grand Marquis (I forget the year), so it was pretty roomy. But I still had one of those cartop carrier thingies on top that I think I put clothes in. In my travels, one of the straps had broken and I literally drove with my driver window open, holding that strap, across several states because I couldn’t figure out a way to fix it.
Joe was this guy I met back then. He was a furniture builder and also a doorman/bouncer who worked the door at a nearby club. He was okay. I think he liked me more than I liked him. One afternoon not long after I met him, he told me that he had just recently gotten out of jail in Texas. I can’t remember for what. Anyway, he had this thing for dressing nice and being “classy” and having nice and classy things. One day, he looked around my apartment and made a comment along the lines of, “it looks like a transient lives here.” It wasn’t so much what he said; it was more how he said it that made me feel weird.
Why do some people feel the need to judge others so harshly? Especially based on what they have or how they live? Did it ever occur to this guy that I had just moved cross country, by myself, and started all over again with no place to live and no job? I packed what I could carry and brought it, but that was it. Within days I had a job and it wasn’t much longer till I found my apartment. No, I did not immediately wrack up a credit card just so I could get a bunch of impressive furniture. I’ve never liked to spend beyond my means, and I usually stick with just what I need. I’d say that’s smart and not something to be ashamed of.
As far as transient goes? Hey, I never promised to be permanent.