Friday, July 13, 2007

Life seems to go into a spiral just at the moment where I needed three months of stability to complete the project on which I've worked for four years. As I am moving from one temporary accommodation to another, my housing situation beyond August is uncertain; my computer has gone into a comma, giving me the blue screen of death; and worst, my body feels like it is disintegrating. Many months of hard work on the computer are taking their toll. The fact I had no hot water at home for most of this period didn't help.

Now I discover in practice what I always knew in principle: that my way of life, which enabled me to live on almost no money (at some points, as little as £5 a week) in one of the most expensive cities in the world, could be sustained only as long as I was healthy. With severe back aches I cannot cycle, so I have to pay for the bus; no cycling means no trips to the market to skip free vegetables and fruits, as I cannot carry heavy loads. And so I find myself in the hateful supermarkets - which I have generally succeeded in avoiding so far.

If I was still squatting with a large group of people, like I did for most of my London days, I could perhaps leave skipping for others and could help in the house in other ways. My housemates would have looked after me, as they did in the past, as I did for them. But in my last house there were only two of us. And as conditions deteriorated, we are both on our way out.

Instability, precariousness, challenging living conditions, and frequent housemoves: I've lived with all of these for five years now. If I feel that I cannot take it any longer, this is also because I have a choice now: with a more-or-less steady income I can contemplate alternatives to squatting. Maybe other people with less choices would love to have my cave. But I have no illusions: discomfort seems to be such an integral part of life here, - a thing of cultural differences; and precarity, a condition that is gradually swallowing more aspects of our lives.

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