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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Problem with Permanence March 5, 2014

Filed under: Tales of Humanity's Imperfections — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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This week I had to fill out the employment paperwork for my next adventure. And there was that horrible line on top where you are supposed to fill in your “permanent address.” I have several problems with that question.

First, there are very few people in this country who are born, will live, die, and be buried in the same place. And even if that is a family tradition you plan to uphold, the unstable economy, changing climate, and constant social shifts in this world make it impossible to promise on a legal document that the address you write down will in fact be your address forever and ever amen.

Then I have a problem with the “permanent address” on a more personal level. I am an actor, which really makes me an itinerant worker. I go where the work is and leave when I’m done. It’s the Grapes of Wrath with sequins. I stay in one place for a few months and then move on. My in-laws are kind enough to let us use their address for all our “permanent purposes,” but even they might not be in that house forever.

And then I have the deep seeded emotional level. My mother lives in the same house she has since I was a baby. I love that house. It’s my home. But if someone told me I had to live there for the rest of my life, I would freak out. And not just there. Anywhere. If you told me I had to live in a cottage in Cape Cod or even in Paris for the rest of my life, I would have a meltdown. I have wanderlust. I want to see the world. All of it. And every time that little “permanent address” line asks me to commit for the rest of my life, I want to scribble over it. I made a lifetime commitment to my husband, but he can adventure with me. An address cannot.

Really, the whole point of the story is that I am a freak who can’t commit to one location, and really the question should read “best mailing address.” It would keep the form filler-outer from unwittingly lying, and keep me from having a meltdown every time I have to hand in paperwork.

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5 Responses to “The Problem with Permanence”

  1. notmarch Says:

    I feel you on this. Now that I have made it a habit of having a personal address, I love it, but the problem is every three years I want to move to a new apartment in a new neighborhood. That shit gets expensive.

  2. Finally – someone else who feels the same as me. I thought I was the only one who had trouble answering this supposedly simple question.

  3. Gina Quinn Says:

    I know the feeling. I grew up moving from place to place every few years. I couldn’t accept the idea of building a house with an actual immovable foundation. So, I settled for a double-wide. And, for retirement in a couple of years, I envision pulling a travel trailer around the country! Ah, wanderlust! It’s great!


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