Home ownership is weirding me out.
And not in the way I was expecting. I was expecting that I’d be spacking about what colour to paint things and where to put furniture and whether that there crack in the guest bedroom ceiling meant that the whole house was about to fall down, thus rendering me destitute and homeless. But most of the time, that’s not what’s getting to me.
What’s messing with my brain is this: how the hell am I supposed to mark the passing of time now?
For the past umpteen years, you see, I have moved about a lot. As in four houses, five flats and two halls of residence in nine years a lot. And while this has had many, many downsides – such as repeatedly losing important documents (British passport went in a move 4 years ago, American went wandering the move after that and my counterpart driving licence disappeared sometime in the past two years without me even noticing), and doing potentially irreparable damage to my back, and having post sent to me at a variety of addresses throughout southern England – it’s always had one nice, simple, upside.
I can judge pretty precisely when something happened just by working out where I was living at the time.
The other day, for example, I was lying in the bath thinking about the Ian Tomlinson verdict (because everyone loves a bit of police brutality in their downtime) and wondering if it really was three years ago. But then I worked out that whilst those protests were happening, I was working from home in the rubbish little flat which was right on a main road and had a boiler than never worked and a kitchen that fell apart but also had that really good balcony which made smoking so much easier. So yes, that had to be sometime in 2009.
And then all the Batman talk got me thinking about Heath Ledger and when he died. And I knew that was just after I moved into my flat in Brighton, before everyone started falling out over Trivial Pursuit and things began to go incredibly sour and I found myself getting my own room signed out from under me. So that had to be early 2008.
But now I just live in one place. And I will live here for years and years to come because I owe my soul to HSBC and will never be able to move again. So how the hell am I going to work out when things happened?
Am I going to have to start actually paying attention? Will I need to paint each room a different colour each year just so I can go “oh yes, that was the year the dining room was bright orange, so must be 2014”? Or will I just have to be a little bit more rubbish at pub quizzes than I am now? Because that is the secret of my “incredible memory” – I just have really good mental markers of where I was at a particular point in time. And now I am just going to be in Kingston upon Thames until the END OF TIME.
But maybe – and this is perhaps wishful thinking – I will just now live in some lovely, floaty world where the passing of time doesn’t even register in my brain any more and I don’t even notice that I’m getting all old and boring. Which would definitely be nice.