In 2014 I spent 10 months living by myself in a 3-bedroom house in a little town in the middle of the Arizona desert. I needed a break from the madness of the streets. And I wanted to see if I could make some kind of normal adjustment with my life (I’ll try anything once).
When i lived in Arizona it was about a mile walk to the nearest store. And often I’d walk the entire way across town without passing another person. It was like living in a ghost town. The weather was beautiful for 8 months of the year, but pretty brutal all summer. I almost went into shock when I first showed up at the beginning of September. 110 degree heat. I thought I was hallucinating. It was so intense (especially from the sudden shock of being so used to the mild Bay Area weather — I felt like a skindiver getting the bends) I couldn’t even think straight. I remember one day where the coolest it got was 80 degrees (and that was at 4 in the morning). When I walked into town I’d take a bottle of water with me, and I’d dump some of it down my shirt every block or so to keep from over-heating. But by October the weather was bearable. And then pleasant.
My backyard in Arizona. And behind my backyard was a large cemetery where no one ever went. So I had a lot of space all to myself. It was a weird culture shock after living in the incredibly-congested Bay Area all those years, where people are coming at you from every direction. Sometimes I felt like I had ended up at the end of the earth. Sometimes I’d wander through the cemetery and read all the tombstones. It was pretty peaceful. And it put my life in a certain perspective. I’d realize that after all my wanderings on planet Earth, this would be my final destination. And I’d get this image in my head of me burrowing head-first, six feet into the ground, and curling up in my final resting place.
This was my living room. I had no idea what to do with all that space. I didn’t like television, and I never had company, so all I really needed was something to sit on. The last place I had rented out was 7 years ago. This 6-foot-by-14-foot office that I lived in for 9 years. It was like living in a walk-in closet. But I found it very cozy.
Ironically, I probably looked more “bummy” when I was living in a house than when I lived on the streets. Because I was no longer living in public where you’re constantly under scrutiny. So I didn’t give a damn.