Losing Home

by Dan Walsh

Move-in eviction stirs sense of identity.

I received word last night that I may be on the receiving end of a move-in eviction sometime in the spring. I appreciate the advance notice. Thankfully, I am not worried about finding a new place, or the cost this will entail. I am more fortunate than some of my fellow San Franciscans facing similar circumstances. However, I was kept up all night by the aspects of my life that began mentally crumbling away as a result of losing my current apartment. I realized how many of my interests and habits are direct products of my location – my home. I’ve lived here for almost 6 years now. It’s no wonder I’ve built up patterns, but I never understood how many and how important these patterns were to me. The food I eat, the way I exercise, the books I read, the movies I watch, the dates I go on with Angelica and the way I spend my weekends are all a product of my location. All of these decisions – these components of my identity – are reliant on the choice I make to live in this apartment.

Every choice informs future choices. Open one door and a window closes, the saying goes. I never realized that living in a place – any place – is the foundation for¬†so many¬†choices. It’s the ultimate whittling knife. I think I moved around too much in my youth to understand this. I was always adapting so I didn’t have much opportunity to solid habits or derive parts of my identity from the place in which I lived.

I have the tendency to optimize things. Marketing campaigns, cooking, even recreation activities all get tweaked and prodded by me until they become their best form. After 6 years in the same place, I’ve done a lot of optimizing on my life. Most of these optimization will break when I leave this building. They were reliant on things like the time it takes me to get to and from work, specifically on the 38BX bus at 8am. I buy Four Barrell coffee from The Mill on Sunday morning at 9 because there aren’t any lines yet and I can park for free in an inactive loading zone. I get crickets for my toad every Tuesday after work at the aquarium one block away from where I get off the bus. I swim three times a week at one of the few pools in the city, which I specifically chose because it is directly on my way home. I build wood furniture because I have a backyard to use for construction. Stuff like that won’t work anymore, sadly. I suppose these routines are inevitable though, and I can always take these lessons with me.

Moving is an opportunity to start fresh. It is a chance to see my city from a new perspective. I previously worried that I wasn’t taking full advantage of San Francisco, well this is a chance to do that. And maybe this is an opportunity to optimize my dwelling around my lifestyle instead of the other way around. It’s hard to untangle those two though.