Contrary to the title of this post, I do have a home. Since the beginning of June, Heather and I have been renting a studio that is actually a converted garage in a nice house in a quiet neighborhood in Salem, Oregon. The only trouble is, we have actually been in Salem since last September.
So where did we stay for the eight months before we found our apartment? When we got here, we divided our time between staying at motels and staying in our car. This is not an uncommon occurrence in present-day Salem. There is a housing crisis here, and it is not unusual to see tents set up under bridges or an unshaven fellow taking a nap beside the 7-11 dumpster.
Thankfully, we had a car. I probably could write a whole book about the experience of living in a car. For now, I will just note that it was not altogether unpleasant. The warm glow of being in a new place softened even the harshest effects of our circumstances. We were not bothered by anyone, and we rarely, if ever, felt unsafe.
After several frustrating weeks of job-hunting, it struck me that being a musician for twenty years is not necessarily the kind of thing that looks good on a resume. I think there are several reasons that finding a job here is difficult. At one group interview for a major supermarket, I counted about 150 other applicants, most of them a whole lot younger than yours truly.
One day, Heather and I got a bite to eat at Taco Bell. Salem is a pretty hilly place, and she didn't notice that the parking lot exit was a steep grade to the flat street below. As a result, the belt and pulley system under the hood was fatally compromised and, in a few weeks, we were sans auto. Thankfully, by this time, we had moved all of our stuff into a Motel 6.
I'm not sure why Motel 6 is called Motel 6. Were the previous five motels flops? I digress. To me, the "6" in Motel 6 will always represent the number of months Heather and I ended up staying in one after we moved to Oregon. They left the light on for us, all right. In fact, they had to replace the light several times.
It is here that I gratefully note the financial help we received from a dear friend of mine and from a group of interested Christians. It bought us several weeks in the hotel until we could get in a more stable situation financially. That stability came when I was again accepted into the ranks of the United States Postal Service. Don't get excited. It didn't last.
Believe me, there is a lot more to the Post Office story. It's another book, but I think Bukowski already wrote it. Nevertheless, the Oregon Unemployment people determined I was not fired for a particularly good cause. The extra money enabled us to stay at Motel 6 until we finally got into the nifty garage studio apartment in June.
And that's my story. I plan to blog regularly, and I hope that this blog will be a regular destination for those of you that are curious about music, comics, film, and whatever else is on my radar.
As always, stay attuned...