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Homeless 0-28: Caretaking

I asked the property manager to tell me the story of the brick colonial he was showing. “Don’t know a thing about it,” he replied. “I just open doors and turn on the lights.” His cold approach seemed to have seeped into the brick, leaving a clammy stickiness in the place. Some rentals come as anonymous as a no-tell motel room, a cynical financial transaction. Hard to imagine these places ever becoming home-making material.

Others come resplendent with history, so bright and present I wonder if there’ll be room enough for me to make any new history there. I have to consider whether the caretaking might become burdensome because these owners will be moving back into their dream home after Amy and I have lived there. They won’t want our presence preserved. They’ll want to find their presence still there after we’ve inhabited. We might have to live on tippy-toes to achieve that.

I consider any place I live worthy of my care. We’ve seen places where the renters seem to believe that their care extends only as far as supplying the rent check. Clutter unconvincingly explained away as moving mess when it clearly qualifies as a lifestyle choice. Yard weed-chocked, shrubbery gone Jurassic, these conditions say nothing about the owner, less about the property, and everything about the caretaking capacity of the renters.

I want to rent places that come with some caretaking required. I find identity and purpose in mindful caretaking. And I want explicit understandings of where the edges lie, because I fear being judged a disappointment and revel whenever I learn that I’ve delightedly exceeded expectations.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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