Twenty years ago i rented an apartment outside of Brno with a couple of other ecological activists.  When i went to pay rent for the third month my house mate refused to take my money.  When i asked why he replied

“You have never been there.”  he replied.

He was in fact right.  At this point in my life is was traveling regularly and sleeping in the Hunti DUHA office when i was in town, rather than taking the tram out to the flat.

This began one of my many periods of homelessness.  Which really means i did not have a room of my own.  i rarely had to sleep in difficult places, in part because for the longest period of homelessness, i was supporting groups who were fighting reactors and they were always happy to put me up at someones place or in some office.

Twin Oaks is full, we have a waiting list and have had for a couple of years now (please dont write and tell me it is about the economy, it isnt).  Tupleo, the house were i live, is also full and popular and has a waiting list of its own.

Sapphyre and her kids Link and Kaya just got accepted to Twin Oaks, but the family housing situation is tricky because we only have three kid housing residences.  They needed at least two rooms in Tupelo to move in.

So i gave up mine.  A behavior which is referred to as “ghosting” around here.  Where you are a member on campus but without a room.

Helm contrasted us sharply when i made this choice, saying while he appreciated it, it was something he could not do.

Hawina was upset, because i did not consult with her before i made the offer and she was understandably concerned that me not having a room would negatively impact Willow and also that it would cause me to use her room more, with only poor options for other solutions.

Now i should say that i am the community room assigner, so all the empty rooms in the community when people are gone are theoretically available.   What you probably dont know is that when a member is gone for more than 3 days, their room becomes available to guests and ghosts.

The policy is pretty demanding, requiring everyone to be open to this type of intrusion.  As room assigner i have taken a much more liberal policy and permit anyone who asks to not have guests in their room.  And if we are really tight i may ask a departing member is another member can sleep in their room while they have guests here.

So even a full step before my ghosting, there is the normal Twin Oaks policy of members losing control of their rooms while they are away, which i think is outside of the comfort zone of most Babylonians.  To go the extra step of then not having a room at all [Marta put my stuff under Tupelo stair case] feels a bit like going back to Eastern Europe.

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

11 responses to “Ghosting”

  1. ~A. says :

    Creative solution…thanks for sharing your life with us, Paxus. I’ve always said you should write your autobiography and have it published.

  2. paxus says :

    Dearest Audrey: You are doing more to making my autobiography happen than anyone, by popularizing my blog on (my traffic has double this month because of you).

    And there is an improbability piece connected with writing a book that many have said “would not make credible fiction”, especially my girlfriends.

  3. alina ahh ever says :

    i think it’s a great practice. i’ve given up my room and a nice guy is living in it now. and i’ve been sleeping on other people’s sofas and beds for awhile now. i like it. has been a wonderful resource. i feel very free — and able to pick up and go where i’m feeling called… and the kindness of strangers all over touches my heart so deeply. i am so blessed…

  4. Jack Marxer says :

    I really like what you’re saying here. We need to use what we need and not a lot more. If you come to Castellón, Spain sometime you’ll have a place to stay. I hope to see you next time I’m at T.O.

  5. rabbit says :

    This practice works well when there is a culture that understands it and has done it for a while. And it can also work when everyone is reasonably on the same page, so that guests and ghosts are respectful. AND – when it does not work, people don’t say “well that shows this can never work.” The occasional glitch or imperfect outcome are simply the rent we pay on trust and on using resources collectively. PS when I lived at Synergy a big coop at Stanford we had “roofers” who lived on the roof in nice weather and stashed their stuff in a closet or even under eaves. And we loved that culture and it worked nicely. It also occasionally offered a wider pool of playmates and potential sweeties!

  6. Sapphyre says :

    The kids and I are most grateful to you for creating space for us!

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