Safe At Last. In A Prison. Surrounded By Zombies

Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 11:17 AM


In order to dig myself free of this hole I've found myself in, compromises have had to be made. I am in a temporary living arrangement of a boarding house. Only it's not really one at all.

The term "Boarding House" may conjure up images of a large facility with multiple bedrooms and a communal area filled with couches and armchairs and a ping pong table. Or perhaps a multi-storey house with a shared kitchen and big yard. But instead what I'm in is a crappy house, which would ordinarily be listed as "condemned", where the doors don't close properly, the windows don't open properly, the washing machine shakes the building off its foundations, the kitchen is so small it can only fit three people, an outside toilet, and a bathroom with poor drainage.

This is a three bedroom home which has had its living room artificially divided up into two bedrooms, so there is no communal area at all, and its an overcrowded space at the best of times. Each of the residents are equally as damaged and broken as I find myself to be, but in different and more unpredictable ways, which leads to constant confrontation. Nobody here is a listener, they all just talk over each other, and never seem to get anything done. Though I am a listener, I have to count myself just as guilty in the non-achievement ranks, so it's quite a mess here most of the time, both figuratively and literally.

But the part that worries me the most is that every time I step out of my room I see a new stranger, some new visitor or friend or even enemy of one of the other residents. Are they friendly? Are they trustworthy? Are they just as broken as the rest of us? Are they staying for a few days? Will they be wandering around the house randomly while I'm trying to make my lunch? It is utterly horrible, I feel unsafe and insecure, and I want out of this arrangement as quickly as I can.

I have to be here. I am trapped here by my own circumstance. Attempts to get money from Social Welfare (Centrelink) have been a ridiculous rigmarole, horribly stressful, and, because of one single obstacle of not having a particular ID card, so far completely fruitless. Centrelink won't give me any money until I have "100 points of ID" which they arbitrarily assign to various things. Being the person that I am, I only have a few kinds of ID. I don't drive, my name is not on the Rental Agreement of this crappy place nor do I pay any of its utility bills, etc. I do have my Passport, and I do have a Bank Card, but the last sticking point is my Medicare Card. Due to random bad luck, it had expired and I hadn't updated the address, so it got lost in the mail. Now I have had to order a new one, and it should have arrived in the mail last week, but it's now a whole week late and in the meantime I have no money to live on. In fact I have had no money for the past two months; if it wasn't for my family donating funds I would have starved.

It's not entirely doom and gloom. The rent here is really cheap, and I don't have to pay any other bills. I do have internet, though it's borrowed and, due to the age of the wiring, very slow. I am close to public transport and have multiple locations nearby, like parks or walking paths, I can escape to to be alone.

But those are small comfort.

It is ironic that, at a time when safety, security, peace of mind, and reliability is what I need the most in order for me to cope, I have none of them. I've found a safe haven, except it's a prison, and it's surrounded by zombies.