Home is Where Your Pillow is…

Last year I applied to be an Enumerator for the Irish Census. I had some time free in the evenings and thought it might be good for the CV. So I went down to the interview with a form carefully filled out and all the relevant details and forms of I.D. on my person.

During the form filling process, the trickiest part of it turned out to be recalling my residential history. Essentially naming the Streets and addresses of every house I had ever lived in. For most people this is hardly a chore at all. My wife, for example lived in one house until her mid twenties when she first bought her own home. She then bought her second home in her late twenties and there she now resides with me almost a decade later. So there it is. Three houses in her entire life. I am envious in a way because there is something about always having that place to go back to that brings comfort. However, in recounting the history of my abodes, I think I have garnered some positives over the years that others don’t get the chance to.

First my living history must be understood. On the address form for the first two years of my life I said I had lived in one house (for simplicities sake). In fact I had lived in at least four during that period. I also decided that anywhere I had stayed for 3 months or less would be erased from the list also as it would arouse suspicion. The list I finally gave the interviewers had nineteen addresses on it. In truth there were more than twenty seven and I struggled with the street names let alone numbers but finally I had compiled a list that reflected my movements to a degree.

I’ve known many letter-boxes.

The interviewers looked at me with surprise.”That’s the most we’ve ever had!” one said almost chuckling. Imagine if I had put them all in. It seems painfully obvious now that it looks like I’ve been on the run all my life. Perhaps escaping the law or the taxman but that is patently not the case. I have moved a lot, of that there is no doubt, but my criminal record remains squeaky clean (except for a couple of tickets I once got for having no warrant or registration on a car I wasn’t driving at the time). No I am just well traveled but have always had somewhere to call home.

The word ‘Traveler’ does of course have a misnomer attached to it in Ireland. Most gypsy people here are called ‘travelers’ but the irony is they do very little traveling. Once that perfect halting site is found they happily stop there indefinitely and most spend their lives in just one or two caravans. They are far more settled than I ever was. No I think home is where your pillow is and while I have moved about it has given me a couple of insights into life that perhaps others don’t have or  don’t experience in the main.

Adaptability – This one is obvious. 27 houses, 3 high schools, 3 primary schools and three cities. I go where I’m told.
Makes Friends Easily – As above I have regularly been the new kid on the block and whether I fall in with the good kids or the bad kids it’s fair to say I can identify with them all.
Excellent General Knowledge – Of course my interests change with the street I’m in but because they are many and varied I can talk to anyone about anything and almost sound like I know what I’m talking about. From sports, music to just about anything else I can blag my way into any conversation. I once spent an evening talking to half a dozen nuclear physicists about antimatter in Geneva, while I don’t remember a thing I managed to survive the conversation.
Good With Maps – How could I not be? With so many addresses it is a wonder I didn’t lay my head down on the wrong pillow by mistake.

After completing my interviews history shows I did not get the job. It’s fair to say that list of residences scared them somewhat. But what they overlooked was that for me to compile that same list proved I was a most qualified enumerator and the list of attributes I mention above were exactly what they were looking for…..go figure.

I don’t really mind…more pillow time for me.

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