Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dream Houses and Vistas

You'd think I was homeless the way I dream of houses. A couple of nights ago in a dream, I emerged from my bedroom to find my neighbor in my entryway with her cocker spaniel. She was smoking. She can't smoke in my house, I thought. She can't have her dog in my house. What will my dog think? My dog, Layla, was asleep on the patio, so I guess I'm more territorial than Layla--in my dreams, anyway.

In last night's dream, I was at the house of a writer I know. He was living in a house that Mr. Ex and I used to live in (in some dream life, I guess, because it wasn't a house that Mr. Ex and I really lived in.) It was a fabulous hillside place with views and a big terraced back yard. As we climbed up the hill through the trees  and got ourselves situated in the large kitchen with its windows that opened to a view of the city lights, I said, "It's not so bad losing my posh house, as long as someone I know lives in it." There were lots of geek chic artist types at the table and everyone laughed. The writer's wife was frying mini-burgers and arranging them on plates with an array of garnishes.  We passed them from person to person around the huge wooden table while one of the other guests gathered up the plates from the first course. "I was hoping, though, that a visual artist might buy this place," I said. I nodded toward the side window. Out there beyond a row of bamboo was a stash of architectural salvage--old cornices, one of those fabulous Egyptian heads from the Vista Theater, elaborate wrought iron pieces.
"That would be me," the wife said.

Mr. Ex and I really were homeless once. After our drive from the midwest to California in June of 1975, we figured we'd find an apartment in San Diego easily. I was performing with a summer commedia dell'arte troupe, and we had a few days before rehearsals started. We'd saved up money for a deposit by camping all the way, but San Diego was expensive and there was nothing in our price range, so we lived in our tent in a campground in Chula Vista. After a couple of weeks, we answered a "roommate wanted" ad and moved into a brand new condo with a guy named Barry. The place had smurf blue plush carpeting, and Barry didn't like it if we left a section of the Sunday paper on the floor. The newsprint would rub off on the new carpet, he said. Mr Ex and I had pretty much nothing then. We slept in our sleeping bags on the floor. I had an antique trunk we used as a night stand for our alarm clock and our books. We stashed our  beat up styrofoam cooler in a corner of the patio. It was a long road from living in a tent in Chula Vista to a posh house in L.A.

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