Commence Freakout

There was more knocking at my door. I didn’t answer. I couldn’t. Then there was knocking at my neighbor’s door. They did answer.

There was a lot of talking, and I didn’t hear it all. I hid in the darkness and crept to my door to listen. I spend most of my time in my living room which is at the back of the condo, so I don’t think they could see the lights on or any signs of life when they looked in from the parking lot.

I just heard bits and pieces, but enough to get an idea of what was going on.

“Well, we don’t really see her or talk to her. I saw her not too long ago, though.”


“I think it was Monday. I used to see her in the mornings sometimes, but not so much lately.”

“<garble garble>, so the rental agency told us to come out and see what was going on. We just wanted to know if she’s still here. <garble garble> and we didn’t know if something happened to her or what.”

I’m actually glad my neighbor said he had seen me (which is true, I did see him a few days ago). Otherwise the landlords may have called the police or broken in. The last thing I want is for them to think I’ve been murdered or injured. Now they just know I’m an accidental deadbeat. As much as that sucks, it’s better than some alternatives. No one wants to be the bad landlord with a dead tenant that no one noticed. No one wants their tenant’s corpse to get eaten by a cat.

I thought I heard them mentioning a note, but I just went out there and there was nothing. Really, people? Why don’t you mail me a letter or leave me a voicemail? The last time I called them didn’t go so well, and I’m too anxious to do it again.

I know that I’m wrong for not calling them. It’s the right thing to do but I can’t do it. It’s painful for me to be like this. I hate it. I have spent my whole life putting my needs second, walking on eggshells for everyone else, living in fear of inconveniencing other people, and here I am being a huge inconvenience. I’m causing a lot of problems, not just with myself but with my landlord and rental agency.

When I was sure they were gone, I made the rounds calling transitional housing facilities again. I was calling them regularly and I’d had no luck, and calling them again today proved to be no different. They’re always either overflowing or they don’t answer their phones and they never call me back. I’ve called several. Once I get kicked out, then I am out of a home, probably for good. I will never have a home again without a lot of help that doesn’t seem to be available. Of all of the transitional places, only one sounds desirable, like I’d be able to get the help I need and get on my feet. One has truly bizarre requirements: they don’t take in anyone who has an open bankruptcy, owes a landlord money, has already received help from Housing Services, or has been evicted. What the hell kind of homeless people are they taking in?

Most of the transitional housing centers have a religious focus, which makes me a bit uncomfortable. I didn’t get here because of a lack of religion, and religion isn’t going to fix anything.

Anyone reading this blog probably has the same questions I do. I don’t know why I haven’t been evicted yet. I don’t know why no one has sent a deputy. I don’t know why I haven’t received an official eviction notice. I received a 3-day pay or vacate notice, but I didn’t pay and I didn’t vacate. So here I am. Friends keep telling me not to worry, that they have to notify me and that there must be documentation and court papers and certified letters and all kinds of crap that I haven’t received. But as we all know, nothing in my life goes the way it should. So yes, I am worried. And I feel inept. I haven’t worked towards paring down my belongings in a while. Off I go.




Filed under Depression, fml, Home Life, Materialism, Obstacles

7 responses to “Commence Freakout

  1. ” I don’t know why I haven’t been evicted yet. ”

    Well from one religious person, (and I’m sure others would agree), there is a protection around you.

  2. teambaby

    Do you have a friend who can house your irreplaceables for awhile in case you get thrown out suddenly? I agree after reading your repossession story; you can’t count on this being a civil or orderly process.

    I wish I could advise or comfort you, but the best I can come up with is this: If they had a prospective tenant, they’d come into your place. They’re landlords, so as far as I know they have that right, especially since they’ve already evicted you. So while I’m sure it’s an annoyance to them that you haven’t responded, if they really smelled money (in the form of a new tenant), they’d get in there and get you out.

    I don’t think you should feel too guilty; especially in these times, a lot of people are doing things they never thought they’d do. I have a friend who’s working for under-the-table pay while collecting unemployment, for example. Sure it’s cheating the government, but she lives on her own–unemployment doesn’t really cut it if you have a bunch of bills. It’s not our finest hour as a country, but survival is first, and if you haven’t found transitional housing, you clearly need to hang onto this place for as long as you can.

    • Yeah, you’re right about them coming in here. My only saving grace is that I live in a neighborhood no one wants to live in, and they’ve hiked up the rent so much that I can’t imagine this place will go too easily. I moved here in December 2005 and it was only $550 a month. Prior to that, it sat vacant for 6 months. And people had jobs then! Now it’s $700 a month, which is still “cheap” but not for this bad of a location. Great deal for $550. Not so much for $700. It’s been really difficult since it was hiked above $550, but I can’t find anywhere to live for that price. Especially not with my cat, whom I will have to give up after 14 years.

      I’ve also done under-the-table work while on unemployment. The first time I got unemployment was when I got laid off of a seasonal customer service job in January 2005. They were giving me $99 a week. My rent was cheap at the time because I was living in a really run-down mold-infested place, but $99 a week wouldn’t have cut it alone.

      I have three friends I can leave stuff with, but one lives 60 miles away, one has the tiniest condo I’ve ever seen, and the third is in a situation as precarious as mine. She’s basically squatting in her own home while it’s in foreclosure and she could get evicted any minute. Ugh. I’ve boxed up things and I need to clean my place and sell furniture. Totally stupid, but I’m afraid of taking out trash and recycling or vacuuming in case I run into someone I don’t want to run into or make noise and people know I’m home. GRR. Me and my ridiculous anxiety.

  3. i have bugger all useful to say but i just wanted to let you know i’m listening and sending bunches of good, creative vibes your way in the hopes that they might help the universe shift something in your favour on this one.

    if there’s anything i can do, please don’t hesitate to contact me. seriously (!). even if it’s just an email so i can distract you with amusing anecdotes about being randomly evicted myself…by my uncle no less…with 6 hours notice. LOL now with stories like this you gotta know that even when life is kicking you in the pants, repeatedly and mercilessly, you get up and again and you write the book 😉 you hate getting up again, much of the time but you manage it somehow. i swear, some days i just wish i had a magic wand 🙂

    • Thanks! Yes, I would like to e-mail you sometime. I think it’ll be okay once I just take a few actions. It’s just difficult to know which ones to take! I have found another option, but not sure how it will work out. Every time I take a leap of any kind, it comes back to bite me in the ass, so I end up standing still. I’ve got to do something, though! Six hours notice? Rough 😦

      Yeah, I feel weird even complaining because they should have evicted me forever ago! This whole thing is so weird.

  4. Modern Poverty or Modern Excuses?

    1) Why do you live in a city with such a high cost of living? Why do you live in a big city at all, when you could cut your cost of living by more than half just by relocating?
    2) You mention a friend who is a lawyer and a friend who buys you concert tickets. Why not borrow money from one of them, get a Greyhound bus ticket and relocate to a cheaper part of the country?
    3) You talk about getting fired from a lower level office job because you had an attitude about hating the job. You talk about some jobs that you won’t work and can’t take because they’re too boring or low level. In the real world, people with Masters Degrees and even Doctorates are smart enough to work whatever job they have to in order to live. That means waiting tables, fast food, cleaning houses, clerical work- whatever they can find. Why do you think you’re above everyone else who does that?
    4) You say you’ve been going on interviews for years without luck. After how long do you come to the conclusion that the problem lies with something you are doing rather than it being a cruel world and you’re a tragic heroine? Maybe it’s your clothes or attitude? Why not borrow money for a new outfit/shoes? Why not talk to the people who turned you down and ask them for feedback as to why they didn’t hire you?
    5) You talk about being ill. I work with older people who have severe depression, cancer and various deadly diseases who are still working. Some can’t even walk. You describe walking all over the place so you’re obviously mobile and well enough to get around. Is illness really an excuse to sit there all day and write “novels,” surf the web and update your web site?
    6)You talk about temporary shelters that aren’t up to your standards because they are religious based, etc. Can beggars be choosers with regard to shelters?
    6) Do you ever think that calling this blog “Modern Poverty” is a slap in the face to people in Africa who work as they are dying of AIDS, or people in Mexico who slave by day and sleep in a shanty in unsanitary, brutal conditions by night? Or even to the American mother who has 3 kids, has been left by her husband and is breaking her back trying to support her family however she can? Or anyone who isn’t single and running around with a cell phone and a laptop?

    • 1) Why do you live where you live? Have you ever tried to relocate with no family and no money and no reason to go any place in particular? I have made several attempts to relocate during the past 11 years (since college — I tried to transfer), but as a result of my difficulty in finding a job at long distance, I was a bit nervous about taking a Greyhound to some random location as you say. I’m not above taking a Greyhound, but where would I go? I live in a city with a high cost of living because I lived in a city with a lower cost of living (about 60 miles away) and I was unable to find a job there after two years. When I found a job, it was here, I had a psychotic roommate and I found a cheap-ish apartment. Working low wages didn’t work out so well when I had to drive all that way every day. No, I couldn’t take the bus. I actually live just over the border in the city outskirts, which is why my rent was cheap.

      2)My friend who is a lawyer is actually living around the poverty line. He has a law degree and has passed the bar exam, but works part-time as a landscaper and, like me, has applied for hundreds of jobs with no luck. I know another lawyer who works at a mall selling cell phones. My friend who bought me the $20 concert ticket for a birthday present makes decent money, but she also has a mortgage and a TEMP job. A well-paying temp job, but a temp job and her days are numbered. Also, she doesn’t “buy me concert tickets.” That’s not some random thing she does. That would be ridiculous.

      3) I am quite familiar with the ways of the “real world” and I have spent years taking low-level jobs. If I said I “won’t” work a job like that (I’ll have to look back and see if I did) it was out of frustration. I’m not even sure what your point in this is because I have had several low-level jobs that I have taken because I had to. Several! All of them were temp except one where I was REALLY badly harassed by a co-worker, and the one where I got fired after I complained about being rudely mocked when I applied for a lateral move to another department. I’ve applied for jobs in restaurants and they have told me time and time again that I need two years of table-waiting experience. I’m not kidding, and I gave up on that years ago. Fast food? Not a chance –and yes I’ve applied. Not so much as an interview. And clerical work? How many times have I mentioned my years as a receptionist? Jeez, I used to give out food samples at the grocery store. I’ve done inventory at a boat store. I tried to get a job at Wal-Mart and I never even got an interview. I worked for an awful phone-sex line for a year and a half. I worked as a mover a couple of years ago. I worked as a seasonal customer service representative in a call center where my entire job was to get screamed at for the postal service’s mistakes, all for minimum wage. Do not tell me that I think I’m above working a crappy job. It’s virtually impossible to find even steady temp work. I am signed up with more temp agencies than I can even remember or logically focus on at one time. Even getting temp reception work is luck of the draw. I recently started having what I can only call “anxiety problems” and don’t really function in jobs where I’m getting screamed at. I know that no one does, but I need to avoid that right now. Sorry if that makes me a horrible demon to you, Ms/Mr Anonymous Heckler.

      4)I have decent interview clothes, which I mentioned in a post. Also there are charities which give people clothes for interviews, which I also mentioned in a post. If I really needed decent interview clothes, I have resources. My shoes are still bad, but just the soles, which aren’t visible under my suit pants. It’s not my attitude, I’m actually warm and friendly. And I do ask for feedback. They always say the same thing: “You interviewed really well, and it was close, but we found someone with more experience.” Every time. I have also had interviews that didn’t go so well, and in those cases I was well aware of what went wrong, so I didn’t ask.

      5)I’m not using illness as an excuse. I’ve been sick for 20 years and have wanted to work for years. I had a severe (but temporary) breakdown. And I’m a writer. That’s what I do. I don’t spend “all day” writing novels. I can write 3000 words in a little over an hour. Hardly all day. How long did it take you to write these silly questions? Shouldn’t you have been lending money to a poor friend or flipping burgers or something?

      6) I never said that the temporary shelter wasn’t up to my standards. I said I was nervous about it being religious-based. The one I was looking at required people to go door-to-door and spread the Word, which reeks of exploitation. Of course beggars can’t be choosers — that’s what that little cliche means. I didn’t say I was above it or that I would refuse to stay there. Just because I don’t want to do it doesn’t mean I won’t. The temporary shelters I have called are all overflowing and I can’t stay in them. Many of them require referrals from other shelters. They all have an application process. I can’t just show up with my stuff and say “Hi, I’m here.” I’d be on the street corner that night.

      6 again. Count much?) Actually, this wasn’t even my first name choice for the blog, and after several others I wanted were taken, this is what I picked. To be honest, I don’t like it much, and I’ll eventually move this blog somewhere else. I chose the word “Modern” because that’s a word associated with Western Hemisphere society living, and “poverty” for someone at the poorer end of that spectrum. If you really have a problem with the term, perhaps you should write a pissy letter to Modern Poverty the store, which sells items no poor person anywhere would ever buy, let alone in Africa. In fact, yeah, I do feel guilty sometimes, I’ve even mentioned that. I don’t live in Ethiopia, my belly isn’t distended. I don’t live in a part of the world with any serious political unrest. That is not my experience. I am not documenting anyone’s experience but my own. I DO own things, remnants from other times. I have a laptop because it was required when I was in graduate school, and I bought it with my loan money. Sure, I could sell it, but it’s a good outlet for me, and once I sell it, what will I have? I have an old cell phone that I’ve had for years. And what does being single have to do with anything? By your statement, if I went out and got pregnant and had a bunch of kids I don’t want and can’t afford, that would somehow be noble.

      Now I’m sure you’re going to admonish me for taking the time to reply to you.

      And not that it’s your business, but I AM moving to a different part of the country.

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