Finally, an exit strategy evolves. My attorney has negotiated a settlement with the landlord. It involves money and I get to stay in the apartment until the end of the year.
Like so many other things in this process I’m not free to discuss all the details. Which has diluted my original vision for this blog. I thought there would be all kinds of Perry Mason histrionics to report on. Then it would culminate with me in the witness stand, pointing my finger and yelling “you lying bitch!” I even died my hair platinum in solidarity with Lana Turner.
In reality, the things I could have written about were pretty boring. Ellis Act evictions are procedural matters, the courts never came close to trying the facts of my desperate but heartrending story. Instead attorneys argued over whether the 15 days started tolling on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. Or whether I should have been served a copy of a notice that had been served to my neighbor. Who wants to read those dry arguments when there are tales of assassination drag to tell.
If I had prevailed in any of those procedural matters my Ellis Eviction would have been invalidated and the landlord would need to start over at square one. Which means I would have been given another year’s notice. At that point he could have dropped the whole thing or might have been motivated to pursue a more generous buy-out option. The former seems highly unlikely although it was the result I hoped for. I wanted to stay in San Francisco. Realistic goals are not my forte.
Since I can no longer afford to live in the City I’ve set my sights on Southern California. I’ve spent a lot of time there and I do enjoy it. My biggest fear is the adjustment it will take from the urban anonymity I love to the suburban nosy neighbor-ness I loathe. I hope I’m wrong about that.
Most of my childhood was spent in Indiana but for five years my family lived in the San Fernando Valley. I started kindergarten in Reseda and it was there I would later learn to read the local newspaper. In my case, the LA Times. I focused mainly on the comics. And pictures of Debbie Reynolds getting off the plane still wearing Eddie’s ring. Maybe that evil Liz didn’t break up their marriage after all.
But nothing topped the imagery of the Cheryl Crane murder trial. The depth of my understanding was limited to the photos but I was convinced Cheryl was just a poor girl trying to protect her mother. And the picture of a distraught Lana showing up at court made an indelible impression on my 8-year-old mind.
To honor the solemnity of the occasion Miss Turner dressed down in a simple black sheath and pearls. She topped it off, however, with the shortest, whitest platinum hair I’d ever seen. And sunglasses so black they looked opaque. Being a star, I’m sure she would have been happy to have worn opaque ones if it produced the right effect.
What that woman wouldn’t do in the pursuit of justice…
A week ago I was waiting for a friend to pick me up and my landline rang. No one ever calls me on that phone, it’s almost always robo-calls or marketers. I’ve kept it because it was tied to the front door entry system. Since that no longer works I probably should get rid of it.
I answered it that evening because the caller id was a cell number. A man asked for me, I asked who was calling. He gave a name that was common enough to have been a made-up marketer but it was also one of someone I’d known in the 70’s. That’s who it turned it out to be.
We had completely fallen out of touch and none of our mutual friends seemed to know anything about him. It turns out he’s lived in New York the last 35 years and worked in the publishing business. He told me he was surprised my number still worked and that my voice sounded the same. I assured him that nothing else had changed either.
He said he still enjoyed his copies of White Arms Magazine and googled the title recently. His search led him to my blog which he was reading.
We talked about people we knew in common and I got him caught up on any news I had. Many of them had died which he knew nothing about. When I asked if he remembered Jim who I collaborated with on the magazine he said, “oh yeah, he died in an automobile accident didn’t he?” I laughed.
In one of the White Arms issues Jim decided he wanted a more affected, pretentious nom de plume. So he wrote that Jim had died in a car crash and that Rene White would be taking over as editor.
At the time some of my more political friends thought the term “White Arms” could be construed as pretext for something racial. But Jim said the name came from the sheaths of blank paper that made up the magazine. And how they would circle the world in an unpredictable way.
When we were putting it together I was always questioning what we were doing, wondering what the benefit would be. Jim told me not to worry about results, to concentrate on being creative and doing things. The consequences would take care of themselves.
Jim would have been thrilled that his car crash story had legs. And that White Arms still has reach.