“You’re so Bohemian,” said my friend, hosting a second-grade, all-boy birthday party at her home.
Today, I received a compliment. I had to do a little research to make sure.
I live in Greenwich, Connecticut. It’s still new and I still miss New York even though it’s just one exit away.*
Isn’t that, like, hippy?
“I just don’t care. I like to help the dogs,” I said. Friend was referring to my ability to take in the most adorable puppy I’ve ever seen, then turn her over to a family to adopt two weeks later… just as I was getting attached. This one is a sweetie and I can’t keep her because I’m renting and I’d never want to surrender a dog because of a prohibitive living situation in the future.”
Bohemian? Isn’t that somewhat like, nomadic? According to the real, bound dictionary that I still own: that means I’m either an inhabitant of Bohemia or that I live and act without regard to conventional rules and practices.
“You’re not neurotic like the rest of us,” she clarified.
People in the northeast was what she meant. She must have met my former in-laws.
Friend sees this as an asset so it’s okay.
I’m not particularly Bohemian but maybe I appear to be now. Perhaps it’s time for a haircut.
After all, I’m forty-six and not entirely certain when the hair is too long in an era where everyone is young forever.
So, does that mean I’m a forty-six, year-old undecided, uncommitted Will-O-the-Wisp? No, I have plenty of commitment in my life. And, no, I showed up to drop off and pick up and I have a dog that I want to keep but can’t because I’m a renter. This rescue is the most adorable in all the land… if one day she stops barking and alpha-ing our adopted cat, “Tink,” lower on the totem pole., she could stay I wanted her to stay with us. She’s smart – moreso than Donald Trump because she (and all sentient beings) has a statistically better learning trajectory and absolutely no incentive except to be liked so that she is fed.
The dog isn’t bohemian either.
But, I’d also like to live in a commune, with five kids of my own in a cooperative, helpful parenting environment, like one I heard of from a former hippy and friend. People help each other and… appear to be Bohemian hippies because there is zero personal gain apart from connection.
“It’s because I’m from California…” and I just don’t care about things that don’t matter, I told Friend.
In the end, puppy smell is a lot like horse smell. If you’ve spent time with horses, you know, there’s a freedom in that smell – not a particularly good smell, but an earthy one. Grounding. Familiar.
So there are two of the infinite list (jest) that I miss from home. I used to have borderline OCD in all matters of work and schedule, before OCD was really a thing to be borderline about. Life beat that out of me in the way it does to every single person (though every single person won’t tell you it has). Not caring can also mean love. Not caring about stuff can mean that I want more room for my people and my furry friends in my life. Dogs that smell and demand every last second of your attention. Cats that overeat and throw up. Kids that are loud. A little girl that needs a hug at every moment she’s close enough to do so. Boys that have bad aim for the toilet and need to be set free into the dirt.
Bohemians can dislike dust and laundry yet still like a full closet of clothes and wide open windows.
Home for now.
* Mostly I think I like saying I live in New York. New York has some ego in it, like it or not. Like it less, that I’d still rather be in my beautiful California. Home is always more home than now home.