Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Tramp House Primer

I just sent about 100 change of address cards bearing the headline: "Introducing Tramp House, the Sequel", and after dropping the last one in the mailbox it dawned on me... "Um, people might not know what the 'Tramp House' concept is!" I felt sad, because the Tramp House is a very wonderful concept, which I will share with you here. And fear not if you've never heard of it before. I made it up.

I moved to a roomy Spanish-style apartment in Glendale about 8 years ago, and was very happy there. It was close to work, quiet, a walking neighborhood, dog-friendly and hip. While I was there, my sister Kim decided to go to graduate school to pursue her MBA. This was a major lifestyle change for her and I thought it would make sense for her to move in with me to cut down on her expenses. Kim was appalled.

"First of all," Kim articulated, "we are twenty-something women" (allow me some literary license here), "who should live ALONE. But secondly, and more importantly, I would feel like a hobo!" She was clearly not in love with the idea. Nonplussed, I responded, "Well, deary, as twenty-something women" (continue to allow said license) "we could share clothes, expenses, and quirky wine collections. But secondly, and more importantly, you wouldn't be a hobo. You would be a tramp. And that is a very important distinction!"

Wikipedia tells us that a
hobo is essentially an individual who hops the freight trains looking for work. A tramp might also ride the rails, but gets by on cunning and fast talking instead of, well, working. But that's not the important part. It's all about visuals. A hobo might look like this:

But a tramp? In my mind, tramps look like this:

At the end of the night, these sassy tramps pack their makeup in an Hermes scarf, tie the scarf to a stick, throw the stick over a shoulder and make their way to the next town. That's what I'm talkin' about.

So that is how my former residence was christened "The Tramp House." And the two years that Kim resided there were two of the most fun years either of us ever had, filled with all kinds of fun, great wine tasting, lots of late-night jazz dance sessions in the living room, and Kim's eventual MBA. She's now pursuing her Ph.D. and while she is doing that solo, the Tramp Mat is always out hence the christening of "Tramp House, the Sequel."

Kim and I even worked up a talk show bit staged in the old Tramp House, with "The Lady Is a Tramp" as the theme song. Ella Fitzgerald's rendition of "Tramp" is my very favorite, but in an ultimate show of irony, it's not really what I'm about. I'm never too hungry for dinner at eight. I do love the theatre, but have had to slip in a bit tardy more than once. I love crap games, dishing dirt, California (which I find to be neither cold nor damp), and I dislike the wind in my hair. Nonetheless, it's a Tramp's life for me, always!

(lyrics courtesy of Frank Sinatra)

The Lady is a Tramp

She gets too hungry, for dinner at eight
She loves the theater, but doesn’t come late
She’d never bother, with people she’d hate
That’s why the lady is a tramp

Doesn’t like crap games, with barons and earls
Won’t go to Harlem, in ermine and pearls
Won’t dish the dirt, with the rest of those girls
That’s why the lady is a tramp

She loves the free, fresh wind in her hair
Life without care
She’s broke, but it’s ok
She hates California, it’s cold and it’s damp
That’s why the lady is a tramp

Doesn’t like dice games, with sharpies and frauds
Won’t go to Harlem, in Lincolns or Fords
Won’t dish the dirt, with the rest of those broads
That’s why the lady is a tramp