I am absolutely obsessed with the story of the Japanese woman who lived undiscovered in a man’s apartment closet on and off for a year before being busted. Did you hear about this? She gained access one day when he left the door unlocked and set up a cozy nest in a spare closet shelf, but he didn’t notice for months and months. He began to suspect that food was missing from his fridge a few months ago, and so he rigged a camera to feed to his mobile phone, and called the law when he saw a figure moving around in his locked house. A homeless ninja!
Now everyone MUST be like me, asking themselves “Who is secretly living in my house?”
I’ve always known this could happen because I think of the same thing when I am at a borrowed or rented beach house. What if I just stayed? Made a copy of the key, built a little nest in the closet in laundry room. When the next renters arrived, they probably will be at the beach during predictable hours–so that’s when I’d heat up their leftover grilled shrimp, watch DVDs and paint my toenails. Then, when they come back, I slip out and hit the beach. While they are grilling, I slip back in, take a few Quaaludes and sleep the sleep of a fairytale princess.
Then if I got caught by an adult, I would say “I’m a fantasy lover here to meet your every secret desire” and make love to him or her or them until they fall asleep. Then I would flee.
If I got caught by a child, I would say “I’m an ocean mermaid hiding here on land to learn how to be a person. Please don’t tell, or they will throw me back in the sea.” This would be even better, because the kid would bring me popsicles and his mom’s Diet Cokes.
But for some reason I never really thought that someone could be squatting in my house. I like to think I would feel a breathing presence or at least smell their nail polish, but maybe I’m overestimating myself. I am gone a lot. There are a lot of possibilities. My closet squatter could be:
- Japanese ninja
- voyeur/stalker type who adores me and would never harm me
- photographer documenting my pajama choices for a year
- Justine Bateman
- night shift Sheriff’s deputy–great cover if caught: Just checking for prowlers
- a parallel universe Deb
- a blogger trying to live on ad revenues–maybe I shouldn’t be posting about my trips
Mostly, I don’t mind. House sharing is economical, sweet in a “we are all one” way, and could help toughen up neurotic people. If my squatter is reading this: Hi! I have no problem with you being here as long as you start cleaning up after yourself and quit singing “Miss American Pie” under your breath, because I can so hear that. Also, we need a safe word. If I say “eggplant,” it means you can slink out of the closet and come lie in bed with me to spoon me. But when the morning alarm rings, hush hush, you scamper back to your closet and don’t say a word until I leave. That’s how I want it.