Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Eviction Chronicles

Pt 1

He walked past my bedroom door.
“Hi.” I said, head turned only slightly in his direction.
“Hi” he said, breathlessly.

I thought I detected his wearing a jacket, but wasn’t quite sure if it was a sports coat or dark zip-up.

The difference would be huge – almost as huge as his bulk.

S. is 6’1” and 285 lbs of pure Sedentary (hence the “S”). As in immovable. As in motionless. Jabba-the-Hut motionless.

And S is the reason I am being evicted out a wonderful space in San Francisco.

The sports coat? If it was a sports coat, that meant that he actually got a job working as a sedentary security guard. If it was a zip up, that meant that he had only gone out for cigarettes. If it was a sports coat, that meant I might get paid a pittance of his back rent. If it was a zip-up, that meant another day of using up gas and electricity on my bill. If it was a sports coat, that meant that three visits to Goodwill searching for the right size finally paid off. If it was a zip-up, that meant he probably gave up looking for the sports coat.  

Today my day was filled with angst, anger and advice: “You’re going to face eviction eventually, but in the meantime, you have to get S. out of there so you can get another roommate and save up enough to move out.” Before that stern lecture, I spent four hours writing, cleaning the kitchen, writing, prepping for my stint at the Eviction Defense Collaborative, and doing sit-ups – all to the sounds of snoring. 

Eviction in San Francisco is an exhilarating experience fraught with legalese, intrigue and what Glen Beck terms as “social justice.” Eviction means months of the aforementioned angst, with the possibility of settling into something else (with new roommates), homelessness, or living in an SRO (Single Room Occupancy). SROs range from rat-infested rooms to clean boxes with shared baths – all filled with people who, to some, are teetering on the brink of irrelevance. Oh, some make it out, but most spiral down into near non-entities whose only goal is to get their cigarettes/beer/chips/frozen dinner at the corner market without feeling totally ripped off.

To me: S-R-O = D-I-E

I live in an anachronistically serene, antiseptic, mid-century modern section of San Francisco – Park Merced. Populated by the old (retirees) and the young (students from San Francisco State University next door), it is 108 acres of ocean-view property managed by a new, hard-assed company keeping to PM’s roots.

You see, Park Merced was once owned by Leona Helmsly.

The new company was installed to make sure everyone toed the line: “Pay or Quit” notices are handed out when your rent is only minutes overdue. Late fees are gleefully added to your account and legal shenanigans (“let’s work out a payment plan with a SLIGHT fee”) are common. Everything is designed to keep[ you in line, even their facebook page.

Part II: “Don’t post it on facebook, dimwit!”

No comments:

Post a Comment