Something Right Finally Happened

Verboten: the grass outside my window calls.
Verboten: the grass outside my window calls.

It’s just starting to settle in what I’ve done. My first six months in the new apartment were so consumed with the minutiae and aggravation of a major move, I lost sight of the bigger picture.

I became such an isolationist during those months, many long-established friends are peeved with me for not being in touch. Shutting out the world is a sign of old age. There will be no more of that. I’m starting to come out of my social shell.

When Eric showed me the article in the BAR a year ago about the lottery for LGBT senior housing, I thought to myself “snowball’s chance, lotteries are for losers.” Today I’m one of the few people in San Francisco with new, affordable housing.

That being said, however, building management has already put me on warning. I was seen using a step ladder to climb out my bedroom window on to the roof garden. I was doing some spray painting on drop cloths I’d laid out.

The manager seemed more amused than concerned when she issued the reprimand. Afterwards she mentioned her mission is not to thin the herd by busting rule breakers. She serves as an advocate for those who have had difficulty in the current housing market. She’ll do whatever it takes to make her tenants successful.

It made me feel like Henry Fonda when the Joads finally found the right work camp. Where you see a rooftop spray painter, I’ll be there.

She ended the meeting by informing me there had been a miscalculation in my rate and for the second time in six months my rent has been reduced.  I am a very, very fortunate person.

When she realized it was my birthday she insisted I take half of the peonies.

Speaking of snowballs,  a friend recently went to San Francisco General’s ER and was admitted with pneumonia. During the first 24 hours while he was out cold, someone stole his wallet. There was $400 in it.

Since the 70’s, General has had a reputation for being a shady operation. Still, with all the new technology and security enhancements I assumed things had improved. But it appears no matter how much money Zuckerberg pours into that place the staff’s primary expertise is never going to be medical.

My friend was determined to get his money back and filed a claim with the City after he was discharged. He then flew to Colombia for the summer to attend to family business.

I offered to help him with his claim while he was gone and said, if he needed anything, I would be happy to be his mule. It’s a species Colombians handle quite well.

I volunteered because I thought nothing would come of it and I wouldn’t have to do a thing. But a few weeks ago he was contacted by a woman who found the wallet in Berkeley. She had been walking in her neighborhood and spotted it in some bramble. The money was gone but the fact that she found it in such a remote place, and that she was willing to make a statement to authorities documenting that, has strengthened his case.

This Good Samaritan really did go to great lengths to track him down: Facebook, Google, directories. Then she found a doctor’s appointment reminder card and got that office to act as intermediary.

I thought her heroics deserved a reward so the day I went to meet her I took a big bunch of peonies and a bag of my new favorite treat, See’s Cashew Brittle. We met at a coffee shop in Rockridge.

We hit it off from the get-go, she was extremely affable. She had moved to the East Bay after 40 years in San Francisco because of the same housing crisis that originally knocked me out. We spoke the same language, there wasn’t a lull in our 30 minute conversation. It was a very pleasant encounter.

The next day she emailed me saying she had enjoyed our meeting as well. She said she’d been driving that day mulling over the stress and anxiety caused by her job. It was really dragging her down.

Then she thought of my prodigal evictee story. She found it so uplifting it buoyed her spirits. It was she who gave me the title for today’s post.

Thank you, Mimi.

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