“What’s your address?” Bethany, the bank employee, asked as she pushed the savings account form across the mahogany desk.
I didn’t know what to say. “Hmm. We don’t have one. We just closed on the sale of our house half an hour ago.”
She gave us a blank stare. “Umm. Seriously. You have to have an address. Where are you moving?”
John used his say it with confidence and it is so voice. “We are temporarily living at a log cabin outside Wabash, but it doesn’t have an address.”
Bethany continued her logical line of questioning. “Do you have a post office box?”
Trying to be as kind as she could at 5:00 on a Friday, she came up with a plausible solution. “Go ahead and use the address of the house you just sold and call us with your post office box when you get one.”
We deposited our money into the new savings account, shook hands with Bethany, climbed into our vehicles, turned right onto US Highway 27, and drove away from Berne on our way to Wabash. I checked my rear view mirror; boxes blocked my view. Ahead of me, John pulled our over-packed military trailer. John’s view in his rear view mirror echoed mine. The last of our carefully packed belongings traveled with us to the cute cabin by the pond—without an address. What have we done? Are we homeless?
I contemplated the definition of homeless—without a home. We had a home but not an address. Apparently, society has adjusted the homeless definition from “without a home” to “without an address.” I assumed that when we finally had a PO Box, we would be taken seriously, no longer considered irresponsible. Hmmm…. Interesting thought. Without an address, others consider us irresponsible. Even though we had just sold our home in order to down size and be debt free. Isn’t that actually being responsible? Not owing money? Not owning more than you need? Not owning a dusty sandwich maker?
Ahhh, the infamous sandwich maker. Over the past six weeks, we delivered it along with three loads of other stuff to various charitable organizations. Not to mention the other possessions and furniture (previously thought necessary) that we gave to friends and family. Although we are homeless by society’s standards, we still have many possessions in totes and boxes that we just couldn’t part with stored in John’s brother’s barn, waiting to be moved to our next physical address.
Together in separate vehicles, we arrived at our new address-less home. We walked hand in hand through the door—home.
The next morning we awoke ready to begin page one of the next chapter of our lives. First order of business—set up Internet service. In hindsight, as we were setting our priorities, maybe we should have gone to the post office first. But in the twenty-first century, Internet seems more important than a mailing address. However, we soon realized the error in our prioritization.
“What’s your address?” Matthew, the AT&T employee, asked as he pushed the hotspot agreement form across the desk.
Oh no, here we go again. The conversation mirrored the one from the evening before at the bank, ending with writing our previous address in the blank.
Okay, before repeating the “What’s your address?” scenario again, we drove to the post office Monday morning to obtain a PO Box. Ironically, during the application process for a PO Box, we were asked, “What’s your address?” Will that question ever go away?
Having obtained a PO Box, we assumed all our address hitches were solved. Wrong.
Equipped with an official mailing address and Internet, I was eager to check “change my address with all the important companies” off my to-do list. Later that day, I settled myself by the window with a view overlooking a tree-lined pond, opened my computer, and began what I thought would be a simple task. Little did I know most companies require a mailing address AND a physical address. I could provide a mailing address but not a physical one. I was tempted to write “cute log cabin by the pond” but didn’t think that would fulfill the requirement. How long can I continue to use our previous address? What is the purpose of knowing my physical address if I provide a mailing address to send my bills to? Again, according to society, without a physical address we are homeless. I didn’t realize when we downsized our possessions we were also downsizing our identity.
I reviewed my “address change” list. One business remained—the bank. Armed with my new PO Box number, I returned to the bank, confidently walked up to the teller’s window, and declared, “I need to update my address.”
She pulled the appropriate screen up on her computer, “What’s your new address?”
I double-checked my notes and provided my PO Box mailing address.
She typed the correction in the new address field, pressed the tab, glanced up, and asked, “What’s your physical address?”