At home, I name my things. The place I live in is small, so it's easy to remember everyone. The house itself is called Crazy House. It's situated in the desert, and at night, you can see all the stars. Because of the windows I cut in the roof, the house has a perfect view of the sky, and while the shades are drawn in the day, they're wide open to the terrific infinity of outer space. Bearing that impossible vision is enough to drive anyone mad, especially a house. Especially this house.
I named my bed Daffodilly. When lay down to sleep, I say, "'Night, Daffodilly," or just, "'Night, Daff." The doors are all called Janus. There are only four in the whole house: the front door, the back door, the bedroom door, and the bathroom door. In the bathroom, the tub—one of those older types on legs—I call Dino. He has a shower head mounted on a six foot pipe that's stuck in the floor, and I have to hunch to get my head under the water. The shower curtain hangs from a looped bar around the top. I said he was old.
The sink goes by Precious. I remember naming her something else, something less trite, I’ve been calling her Precious so long, I forgot her real name. I doubt she minds. The toilet, the actual commode, I usually call John. Yeah, John. In the living room, I introduce people to Fred, the couch, and Bert and Ernie, the deck chairs for when more than two people come over. They have cushions I call covers, and I treat the deck chairs like the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket treats the new marines.
"Pick up your fucking cover, Bert! Private Ernie, were you about to call me an asshole? What is this Mickey Mouse shit!"
There's a sort of big, square coffee table named Al sitting in the middle of Fred and the deck chair pair. The living room has three entries: the front door, the door to my bedroom, and the opening to the kitchen. In the kitchen, there’s Stan, Bev, Simon, Clyde, and Herman; the fridge, the stove, the sink, the microwave, and the toaster, respectively. There're windows where you'd expect them to be, but none of them is named.
On the floor plan, the house is a perfect square divided up into smaller rectangles. I had a copy of the floor plans blown up to poster size and tacked to the wall of the kitchen near Stan. It is covered with little drawings. Luther, a small table I suppose was meant for telephones, holds up a small spiral notebook. Inside it is each one of the drawings with an explanation and a date.
If I had a garage, I'd name it Ruth. I didn't name my car. Most people seemed surprised that I'd fail to name something that's actually not uncommon for people to name, and I tell them I'd no more name my car than my hand or foot. Once, in response, someone asked me if my penis had a name. I said, not only does it have a name, it has a social security number, a PO Box, and is registered to vote. Guess what, he's an Independent.
Usually, people ask me why I named all my stuff, and I say, "How else could I tell them apart?" People ask me, why don't I have more stuff? I say, "Why don’t you have less?" I don't have a television set, I don't have a computer, and I don't have a phone except for the cell in the car with For Emergency Use Only stamped on its battery. People ask me, what do I do all day? I tell them, "More than you." How do I keep in touch with friends and family? They drop by. They write me a letter. At the library, I get on one of those free e-mail web sites and communicate.
But wouldn't it be easier... But wouldn't it be cheaper... But couldn't you just... I reply, "Could you? Could you give up the freedom of disconnection? The leisure of life without so much luxury? If you were able to go outside and enjoy the sun and the smell of the desert and the plants you grow in the shadows around your house, and you could be sure you weren't missing some TV show or some important call, would you turn your back on such peace?"
But what do I do? How do I fill my day? Do I work?
I do what I want. I fill my day pursuing my needs and interests, nothing more or less. And I can afford not to work, most of the time. I don't pay rent, I own the land. I don't pay for any utilities except electricity, water, and sewage. These bills never pile up on me. The sewage rate is flat, and I don't use a lot of electricity. This is the desert. At night, I get a blanket. In the day, I wear very little. It's the simplest place to live if you have a car. I don't shop very often. Most of the spare cash I have I spend doing things, going places, experiencing.
What do you do? How do you fill your day? I know you work. Half your waking life, you work. I know what you do, how you fill your day. Fine for you, you can have it.
People tell me, maybe I have a point. They say, "It does sound good, bu-ut..." Oh, it's always, Bu-ut... Bu-ut I don't think I could live that way. Bu-ut I couldn't kill time like you do. I couldn’t be content just to relax all the time. I'm addicted to stress.
That's fine, I say. I still love you. But look, but listen. If I had all that stuff, you know what I'd have? I'd have a pain in the ass. I'd have that many more names to remember.