Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Homeless in the 21st Century

It's now the interim period between the end of my NASA internship and the beginning of my summer research fellowship. I find myself - once again - homeless, while I wait for my housing to become available for the next semester.

As a college student, this happens to me three times a year; the transitions of the fall, spring, and summer semesters drive also the availability of housing for college students. Whether it be the dorm kicking everyone out for two weeks between semesters, or campus apartments unwilling to extend a summer lease past August 9th when I can't move into fall housing until August 23rd, the gaps between semesters are not a vacation but a hardship for those of us who don't have anywhere else to go during those times. My parents would be willing to take me in, but they have such a small house that there isn't a bed for me to sleep on there. So in the interim weeks between semesters I become a modern gypsy, taking my car from place to place and staying with friends until my welcome runs out.

This semester is not too bad. One of my professors has kindly allowed me the use of his spare room, and we get along well. I am experiencing no physical hardship - only the mental anguish of trying to define home and coming up empty-handed. I have been provided a house to stay in, and hospitality, but it is not my home. In my heart, home is with my fiancee Melissa, but neither of us has our own place. Last semester, Melissa's week consisted of bouncing from Weatherford, to Edmond, to Norman, depending on where she needed to be for college or work. When we are married we'll have a home together, but for now we make do as best we can.

I drove to Weatherford today, but my professor happened to be out, and I felt funny about going into his house alone. So I picked somewhere far away and drove there until he would get back. It's times like this that my car means more to me than just transportation. It represents freedom, and a much needed piece of the familiar in unfamiliar lands. As long as I am rushing 78 mph down an unending stretch of freeway at least I am somewhere, doing something, which is infinitely better than nothing, nowhere.
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