On Domiciles

Walden is now parked out in front of my friend Burning Woman’s apartment. BW is about my age, an author, and, as her moniker implies, for the preceeding past seven years she has been a regular attendee at Burning Man, a legendary week-long party in a desert. And until she moved to New Orleans last week, her life in San Francisco has been primarily with people for whom spending a week partying in the desert is not that big a deal.

BW’s apartment caught me a little off guard. Let me provide a bit of context. A decade or so ago, I visited BW while attending the very same conference I’m attending now. That year it was in Chicago, and BW was betrothed to a fabulously wealthy man. They shared a penthouse condo overlooking the lake. Actually, it had been three units and sprawled across the entire top of the building. The master bath was big enough to house at least three Waldens. So, I arrived at BW’s place and stepped over what looked like dead bird carcasses to walk in to BW’s 4 room shotgun apartment, I was a bit surprised. It took me back about 25 years. That makes sense because. BW’s roommate is a young artist living in New Orleans, and her place is perfectly appropriate for a 20-something artist. One who, as it turns out, creates really cool jewelry from feathers. (Those things that looked like dead bird carcasses were, in fact, very pretty bird carcasses.) I was at first surprised to see 40-something BW living in a 20-something apartment, but then I remembered something that gave me a bit of perspective.

I live in a van.

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