I love this house:

Treehouse 1
Image by Christian Haugen on flickr creative commons.

My husband and I are beginning our research to find a new home. We are baby boomers and we are poor, so we fit into the category of the many who will compete for cheaper places to rent during our transition.

By ‘finding a home,’ I mean that, while we have a roof over our heads and we are grateful for that, we do not now, nor will we ever, feel at home in our current Kafka living circumstance. I do not know if the words We Hate This Place are as appropriate as the words We Are Strangers In A Strange Land are. I have come to believe that America is really more like three or four separate countries.

Without going into a lot of detail, where we are now is neither a cultural nor a spiritual fit. Note that I say ‘spiritual,’ but not ‘religious.’ Religion has nothing to do with being a spiritual misfit. I am a spiritual misfit, just to give give an example, because I rescue turtles and frogs off the road, but in the process I have almost become road kill myself. I want to move to a place where I can escort a turtle across the road without being yelled at and killed. Someplace where animals are respected and cherished would be really nice.

Where we live now, we spend a lot of time risking our lives walking and riding our bikes, because there are no bike paths or places to walk. We usually venture out together, but on Superbowl Sunday my husband went out alone. He was biking on the side of a road, and a carload of drunk people swerved toward him, shouted and heckled, and then threw a beer bottle at his head. We would like to find a home where people as a general rule do not try to kill bicyclists by swerving at them at high rates of speed and throwing beer bottles at their head. Someplace that has bike lanes and walking paths would be nice.

Also along the lines of activity, I would like to find a place that has an Old People’s Soccer league, because I miss playing soccer, and a place that has some sort of Scuba diving, because we both miss diving. A pond with a couple of living fish would be fine.

I find that an excellent independent bookstore, staffed by people who can read, to be sort of a must; a coffee shop where people who enjoy writing congregate- a bonus, and a town that has an art supply store with origami paper other than Michael’s- an extra bonus. Michael’s will get you by, I suppose, but when you want cow spots on your cranes, well…

I will do any sort of work, wherever I go. I love outdoor work, manual labor, anything.

In my quest for a small-to-mid-sized town full of artsy, outdoorsy misfits who have been voted off the island in the South, I came across Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies 2011 State of the Nation on housing.
Man, was that ever bleak! Unemployment. The foreclosure fraud fuckfest. Poverty. I used to think, back when I had a career, that ‘those things’ happened to ‘other people.’ But now, we are the ‘other people.’

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were supposed to get an education, and then do better than our parents by working hard; things were supposed to fall in place. Even during the Great Depression, from what my parents tell me, people helped each other out as best they could; what happened to other people mattered. I want to move to a place where people matter to each other, instead of where people are looking for countless ways to shun, hurt, and lock each other up.

I came across another list this morning, based on a San Francisco study of voting patterns. It lists the top 200 or so most conservative and liberal cities in the US. The results may surprise you.

For our purposes, the most useful site is one where you can enter any city in the US, and see what rentals are available, and how much they are. The site is updated constantly. You can adjust the filter to your price range. The site is fabulous.

Our move will not be immediate, and it will likely be a two-step process. But, we are planning well in advance this time. Does anyone have any suggestions? Or are we dreaming? Does any such place exist in America today?

  1. Judy75201 says:

    If you find that piece of heaven, please let me know. And I so hope you do. As I was reading, some places came to mind (rather obvious probably) like Oregon or Maine. But I fear it may only be found in The Shire. I love how you have not broken, not fallen into the abyss. Best of luck to you and Fred.


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