Observations: Not homeless, feeling better

Published on: September 7, 2011

I should be packing to move but instead I’m going to pick up a guitar and strum a few chords.  After all, these are the good old days. Mitch Traphagen Photo

I should be packing to move but instead I’m going to pick up a guitar and strum a few chords. After all, these are the good old days. Mitch Traphagen Photo

By Mitch Traphagen

Do you want to feel better right now? I can help with that if you have a computer connected to the Internet. Go to YouTube and search for a video of Carly Simon performing “Anticipation” during a small concert she held near her home on Martha’s Vineyard. The lighting, the color, the wind and the boats in the background all make for stunning visuals. Carly Simon has suffered from extreme stage fright her entire life — but you would never know it in watching this video. She looks like she is having a great time; the entire band looks like they are having a great time.  It is magical.

The video is part of a DVD, released last year, of an intimate concert performed in 1987. It shows a beautiful, 40-year-old Ms. Simon performing on stage. The DVD also includes an interview with her, now 60-something-years-old and still beautiful, talking about her memories of it. If watching that video and hearing that song doesn’t make you feel better, at least a little, something is seriously wrong.

I’ve been searching for anything to make me feel better because, for a short time last week, I was homeless — not living-on-the-streets-homeless, but figuratively and definitely emotionally homeless. In order to save some money, my wife and I decided to let the lease expire on our very nice house without first having found a new house.

We are good tenants, but with four dogs, being a good tenant is difficult to convey to a potential landlord. Our dogs are long past their destructive youths and, to be honest, tend to just sleep a lot — but many landlords lose interest shortly after asking, “Did I just hear you say FOUR dogs?”

Our list of needs in a home is specific, mostly because of the dogs but also due to our personal needs. It was only after a nice young couple immediately snatched up our current home with a deposit check that we realized there wasn’t much in the rental market for us. Thus, the deep and dark recesses of my mind began to comprehend that we were, in fact, homeless — or soon to be. I can’t begin to describe the profound shock that came with that awareness. I realized in an instant that I was no longer a kid willing to live footloose and fancy-free. I want some stability in my life. That stability begins with something I had always taken for granted: having a home.

When Craigslist failed to provide a housing solution for us, we turned to the classifieds (not that I should admit it was in that order) of the Observer and called Claire Tort at Dickman Realty. After all, who is in a better position to find a good home than someone who works for a company founded by one of the area’s founders?  Claire was thoughtful and dedicated enough to take time away from plans on a Sunday to show us a house. Then the following Saturday, she did it again. And suddenly, we were no longer homeless. Except now I’m faced with the unpleasant prospect of packing and moving. If that’s the most I have to complain about, though, I feel pretty good.

Given the times we are in, feeling good is…well, pretty good. As we drove away from our soon-to-be rented home, drops of rain began falling from a few squall clouds, despite the brilliant sunshine of the evening. It occurred to me that Florida is one of those rare places where you actually need sunglasses even in the rain. There is a corollary to these times in that realization.

There are a lot of dark clouds on Florida’s horizon right now, but somehow sunshine always miraculously manages to punch through those clouds. And that will, of course, continue. We’ll get through this to take on more storms in the future. And then we’ll get through those, too. I know with certainty, it is true.

As I type these words, Carly Simon is just finishing “Anticipation” in the beautiful light and setting on Martha’s Vineyard. The video is truly spectacular and it magically makes me feel better. Appropriately enough, the ending of her song has given me the ending of this column.

It may not always look like it, but the sunshine will be back again. In fact, it is already coming back. The tide is turning and, like all tides, it will lift all boats. Although I should be packing, I’m going to strum a few chords on the guitar instead. Right now Carly is right, these are the good old days.