Twenty years ago i rented an apartment outside of Brno with a couple of other ecological activists. When i went to pay rent for the third month my house mate refused to take my money. When i asked why he replied
“You have never been there.” he replied.
He was in fact right. At this point in my life is was travelling regularly and sleeping in the Hunti DUHA office when i was in town, rather than taking the tram out to the flat.
This began one of my many periods of homelessness. Which really means i did not have a room of my own. i rarely had to sleep in difficult places, in part because for the longest period of homelessness, i was supporting groups who were fighting reactors and they were always happy to put me up at someones place or in some office.
Twin Oaks is full, we have a waiting list and have had for a couple of years now (please dont write and tell me it is about the economy, it isnt). Tupleo, the house were i live, is also full and popular and has a waiting list of its own.
Sapphyre and her kids Link and Kaya just got accepted to Twin Oaks, but the family housing situation is tricky because we only have three kid housing residences. They needed at least two rooms in Tupelo to move in.
So i gave up mine. A behavior which is referred to as “ghosting” around here. Where you are a member on campus but without a room.
Helm contrasted us sharply when i made this choice, saying while he appreciated it, it was something he could not do.
Hawina was upset, because i did not consult with her before i made the offer and she was understandably concerned that me not having a room would negatively impact Willow and also that it would cause me to use her room more, with only poor options for other solutions.
Now i should say that i am the community room assigner, so all the empty rooms in the community when people are gone are theoretically available. What you probably dont know is that when a member is gone for more than 3 days, their room becomes available to guests and ghosts.
The policy is pretty demanding, requiring everyone to be open to this type of intrusion. As room assigner i have taken a much more liberal policy and permit anyone who asks to not have guests in their room. And if we are really tight i may ask a departing member is another member can sleep in their room while they have guests here.
So even a full step before my ghosting, there is the normal Twin Oaks policy of members losing control of their rooms while they are away, which i think is outside of the comfort zone of most Babylonians. To go the extra step of then not having a room at all [Marta put my stuff under Tupelo stair case] feels a bit like going back to Eastern Europe.