In my early 20’s I was a borderline squatter. I can name two states I lived in for a full year in which you cannot find a single connection to me living there. No utility bills in my name, no driver’s license, and no formal lease signed. I could name those two states, but then it’d be documented, and I like to hold on to some mystery of my previous life.
I’d like to say this unattached lifestyle I lead was strictly by choice, but I’d be lying. However, when I figured out I could manage life being completely broke, I definitely leaned into it. The only thing I was committed to not screwing up was my jobby-job.
That job and I were meant to be. As an entry level underwriting manager for an insurance company, I was required to move to a different state every year. It was perfectly curated for me, because one year was my personal expiration date for a location. Relationships had been burnt to the ground and money was hovering into the negative, so with a quick insertion of relocation cash and a 4-week turnaround to pack up and ship out, I was sitting a perfect derelict for my next annual pit stop.
That is, until I found a place I loved.
Having spent 18 months in Providence, Rhode Island, I was ready to fully commit to the New England way. I acquired a passion for wine, learned how to live in a city, and obtained a 3-legged cat, Pringles, via a wonderfully vague Craigslist ad.
I had no cable and no air conditioning. If I placed my laptop in the far corner of my apartment, I could log onto the free wifi from the cafe across the street. During hot summer days, I’d come home from work and open up my empty freezer, place my cat in it (put down the phone, no need to call animal control, I didn’t CLOSE the door) and let him cool down while I rummaged the fridge for some knobs of cheese.
Sounds horrible, right? Funny enough, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But all self-imploding things must come to an end, and I was tapped by my company to move to Las Vegas, Nevada.
I distinctly remember the flight. A friend mailed me one of her kitty-downers to give my cat for the haul. It went in the mail a single whole pill floating around in a standard white envelope. It arrived a crushed up powder, which had me wondering how it wasn’t flagged for anthrax. I arrive at the airport with an old floral suitcase circa before we figured out to put wheels on our luggage and tears flowing from my eyes. I must have looked like I didn’t have a will to live because the TSA guard tapped me for an extra pat down. And after making it through security where my cat leapt from my arms and used his super-feline strength that required two humans to stuff him back into his bag, I board my plane for a six hour journey to Las Vegas.
That’s a story for another day. It’s filled with gambling addicts, magicians, and… stability. For today, I board a plane with a little bit of Rhode Island with me, my cat, and start my next journey.