July, 2016


7/28/16 - Title: "Not Comfortable in My Own Skin"

I'm in a complex of rooms, similar to an apartment complex, except it is an old rooming house where I had stayed before. Now it is included as part of this more modern, mainly brick exterior, residential location. Apparently by phone, I make arrangements for staying in the old rooming house, and again in my old semi-private room there. However, before moving in I need to be somewhere else. It is both like a small city and a big city, also like a big college campus (so perhaps it's a large college campus - sort of a small community or city in itself - and the campus is in a bigger city).

It is night, and all my stuff is in a big backpack. I am alone here on a sidewalk. Somebody else is nearby, but I do not know him. I am going through my stuff to see if I have everything I need, and it is an extremely detailed examination. There are plastic bags and zip-lock baggies with many different small items in the several diverse packs and spaces of what looks like a 3- or 4-part backpack, the different parts strapped together or fastened onto a frame or harness that would be against my back when I put it on.

The other person nearby is evidently a street person. I do not trust him, think he would try to steal some of my stuff if I leave any of it for a few minutes to go buy needed things or maybe a snack. I am shorter than he is but get in his face and speak to him sternly, in an accusing way. He acts like he is not taking me seriously. He says nothing. Then, a little while later, he leaves. I am relieved.

[Reminds me of my attitude and feelings toward my brother, Pete, who currently is not communicating with me after a minor confrontation and my actually being relieved that he chooses now to have nothing to do with me for awhile.]

I do now leave some of the backpack stuff on the sidewalk and go to briefly get some necessary thing done. The rest of my things are still there and OK when I return.

I take my stuff and go to the rooming house. It is familiar to me since I have stayed her (here) for days, weeks, or months before. It is always only partially satisfactory, for I lack true privacy. There must be a problem getting something I'd really like or I would not be staying here. For instance, the bathroom, with a toilet and shower stall, lacks any reliable way to keep others from seeing in. Also, there is only one bathroom for several of us there, men and women, to use. To get to it we must go through others' rooms. Others similarly may sometimes go through my area to get to it.

[Am reminded of a time my wife, Fran, and I had for a short time to stay in a trailer arranged for by my mother-in-law. We were all there together for the memorial of my father-in-law, but she felt free to come in when she wished, so we had little real privacy or control for our own space.]

I have a key on one of my key rings and had forgotten its use, but now recall it allows me to get in at the front door of this rooming house or else unlock the door into my part of the house. However neither use seems to make sense because the others care much less about protection of my own space and privacy here than I do and leave doors unlocked, go through "private" spaces at times regardless, and see me as an intruder on their more friendly and community type routines.

[Recall this was also an issue when I was in grad school and my rooming arrangements then were much too disrupted by the activities of others who impinged on them when they felt like it, as certainly too was the case for me by my parents and much younger siblings getting into my room and my stuff when they felt like, either deliberately or unthinkingly, so that I never felt sure of my things or my space being secure, protected, or respected.]

When I get there and am ready to move in this time, though, I find things have been rearranged so there is even more sharing of otherwise separate spaces. For instance, though my space remains empty of others and separate, there is now a small bunk bed size sleeping space made up right in front of and against the doorway that I need to use to get in and out. I must either step on this bed (and bother whoever is sitting or resting there when it is occupied) or move the bed to get into or out of my space in the rooming house. Oddly enough, I have, inside my space, a larger bed set up, a king- or queen-sized one, but maybe without the springs, for it is lower to the floor than a normal bed would be. I also have in there a bit more space than the other, even less private arrangements elsewhere in the rooming house.

As usual, though, the communally accessed bathroom has no door, at most just some translucent curtains that can be partially pulled across a wide doorway area, so there is no real privacy there, though folks here evidently have a live and let live attitude and do not go in or near the toilet or shower when someone (or a couple) is (are) using it. They still may at times, though, go through my less than fully private room to get to and from the bathroom.

I complain to the woman landlord about a couple of these unsatisfactory aspects of the place, but she easily dismisses my comments, letting me know I've contracted for this and agreed to pay, and I can take it or leave it so long as she gets her money. She intends giving no refund or write-off of the deal.

I am wondering (as I wake up) how I'll adjust to things, with which am very uncomfortable, and how long I'll stay there and just put up with them vs. taking a loss right off the bat but going to a motel or finding some other arrangement that would be more suitable.

[Unstated, of course, is why the dreams keep putting me back into this unsuitable space periodically, where I must be with parts of myself I'd like to be more private from. Naturally, it has to do with feelings of awkwardness, alienation, disruption, lack of control, concerns about respect, anxiety, and being very uncomfortable sharing the personal space - my life - with other aspects of myself with which I have little integration, familiarity, trust, love, or friendship.]

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