I have it until the end of October.
It's lovely, and there's a balcony, so I can take in the coming of autumn and all of its splendour in comfort. And I can work on my book and paint.
I've made one seriously delicious giant pot of soup so far, some smoothies, some toast, and many cups of coffee and tea.
Apparently Neil Young lived in this building in his 20s, but they probably tell you that about every building in Winnipeg.
And though I've taken a break from the news, from doom-scrolling, somehow the challenges of human diversity still seep in, in the form of overhearing neighbours. So far, one was howling about heartbreak all through the night, moaning and singing about it extremely loudly and out of tune. And I overheard the couple below, day-drinking, pontificating loudly, and I grimaced when I overheard their racism. And yesterday the alleged meth-heads on the first floor pulled the fire alarm as a joke, so the tenants all gathered outside until we were allowed to come back in, but no harm done. The new caretaker who introduced himself is into astral travel and crystal healing and likes to tell you about it in the stairwell.
And a lovely young woman just moved in next door and is studying narrative therapy (a subject I am fond of, for obvious reasons) and she is a delight of conversation. We sat on the balcony and chatted for four hours after the fire alarm. It was a welcome break from the not-sure-I-want-to-engage-with-folks, and the nothing-but-me-ness of my interior walls.
Yesterday, before the fire-alarm, I did something I haven't done since I was twenty-four years old. I looked at an empty apartment. There was a vacancy in this same building. I remembered the joy I felt in Montreal, the last time I had done that, the joy in the prospect of filling it with my own things, extensions and expressions of myself, books, more instruments, decorations.
But this time, I did not feel joy. None. Just grief and trepidation. Even if I kept it to a bare minimum, I realised I would need, if not a bed, then a blanket, if not a couch, then a cushion, and a pillow, a plate, cutlery, a broom and cleaning rags, an internet provider, and each thing I thought about felt like a shackle fastening around me, and I panicked.
I don't think I can do this. I am not wired to live that way after a decade of road, and as much as I tried to embrace it in my mind as a new beginning, to think about it as the sensible, reasonable thing to do, to even call myself childish and ridiculous, every cell in my body screamed, "no."
There may be no touring any time soon, but that doesn't mean I have to give up my road-life. And if it means airbnb hopping for a while, even in the same city, to give me that variety and newness of environment and encounter that my soul has gotten so used to, if I am foolishly trying to trick myself into feeling like I am still nomadic, then I will be that fool.
Everything may be different, cut off, scary and surreal, but I can still follow the truth of my heart.
And, dammit, I will.