As of this moment I am officially homeless. I am sitting in one of those gormless work hotels that George Clooney inhabited in the film Up in the Air. Apparently I have one of the best rooms in the hotel; it has all the soul of a discarded shoe. The reason for my homelessness is that while I was away in the USA for work my ex-wife took the opportunity to remove me from our house with an ultimatum that I had no desire or energy to fight. Before I go any further I wish to state that I will not hear an unkind word about her; she did what she had to do to survive. She is at the end of her emotional resources, as am I, and the two of us are in an impossible situation. One of us had to go and it is my turn, but this leaving is permanent.
I have a bag of clothes, my failing laptop, the car that I drove away in, and my favourite pillow which was a wise move as the pillows in my hotel room resemble a condom stuffed with walnuts. The rest of my worldly goods are still in the house. The two of us managed to come to an arrangement on that side of things for which I am thankful.
I have a month or so in The Netherlands and then I must return to the USA for a few months on business. I am in this hotel until the end of next week and then I really am out on my ear. So I will have to make some arrangement for that period of time. I’ll probably hit a bungalow in a campground so as to keep the costs down. Yey me.
It is a positively surreal experience to be homeless at the age of 47. The glass half full Adam would declare that I now have all options available to me; the world is my oyster and all that guff. I am not wanting for money and I have an excellent job, so with all things considered it’s not nearly as bad as the time that I lost my job in Uganda and I possessed neither any funds nor a ticket out of the country. Somehow I got through that so this should be a doddle I suppose.
The glass half empty Adam regards me with scorn and derision, declares that I am the biggest loser on the planet, and wishes for the timely impact of a large asteroid with the earth in ten seconds from now …
No such luck then.
Those of you who have read my books and followed my worldly adventures know that I have reinvented myself several times over the course of my life. I have lived and worked on four different continents in a variety of jobs, and for many years the items that I could carry in two bags were my only possessions. If anyone can deal with this then it has to be me, right?
I wish it were that easy. I suppose the closest resemblance to this situation was the welcome I got from a girlfriend long ago after I had chased her across Australia on a failing old Honda CB750. Yes, she broke my heart, but it was a very young and inexperienced heart and I had only known her for about 8 weeks. My present heart has been intimate with my now ex-wife for over 10 years and she walked out over 4 months ago. I thought that with time it would get easier but in all aspects I am emotionally crushed.
The scene after I left that girlfriend in Sydney so many years ago is still etched on my mind. Sitting in a dilapidated hostel room in the depths of Kings Cross as I struggled to understand my predicament. Now I sit again in a hotel room. It is comfortable and smart, and I didn’t have to pay for it. But the feeling is the same. It’s like an old familiar blanket has settled over my shoulders, welcoming me back to the world of being alone.
I do not feel despair as I have no remaining emotional energy and despair requires a little fuel in the tank. All I feel is loss and that all of this is so unnecessary. But she needs her time. She has to rebuild herself. Those are not words of muck. The two of us have been through so much together, moving house six times in ten years, back and forth across the world. And all the while she held down a consulting job that required her only to give up her soul. It consumed both of us and all she could do was to put up her walls and try to survive. But her walls did not discriminate and our marriage was the ultimate price to be paid.
So here we are. It’s three in the afternoon and all I want is for the sun to set on this day so that I can give myself up to the nebulous world of sleep so that I do not have to acknowledge the facts of my existence for a few precious hours. But I know from experience that this too shall pass. Tomorrow I will go to the gym for a much needed session and on Monday I will throw myself back into my work as there is much to be done. And bit by bit I will rebuild and things will sort themselves out. It’s a tough old life and you have to become tough to keep making it. Time for me to live up to those 28 traits that I keep banging on about. That or identify as a woman and join a convent.