The House

The house is three blocks west and one block north of my condo. It is more than 100 years old. It has original (we think) trim and floors. There is a French man living there right now. He has two children who are in France with their grandparents for the summer. His wife is already working in Manhattan. (Today I just heard about someone in Manhattan so rich that he has a back yard.) The house was on the market since October and sixty people walked through before we made an offer. Four people lived in a space that we will occupy. Though we want it to accommodate guests, including L's two children and their entourages. The For Sale sign out front still doesn't say "under contract." Our walk-through is Monday morning and then noon is the closing and then we run back to weed and pull down ivy. I picture us running through the empty house, too, shouting, It's ours! It's ours!

Property is theft, my friend D reminds me.

But from whom? From the great C0mmon Good? On the one hand, it is preposterous to think of "owning" anything, since we're going to die. But on the other hand, can everything be shared? Theoretically, yes. My friend R used to live in a commune in Germany. You would sleep in whatever bed was available at night and take whatever clothing fit the next morning. If you don't have all your things with you, if you don't have things, then you're not carrying your history around with you, at least on the outside. You're not dragging around your heirlooms and inheritances. Your DNA does that quite well enough on its own. We are supposed to buy and buy, first because of Sept. 11, and now, to stimulate the sluggish economy. To own more and more. The more each person has, the more there is to separate one person from another, to divide us as we individuate by our possessions. The more there is to use to build walls around each of us, to label everything, Mine mine mine.