Patterns of Insanity

So yeah, I happened on this on Twitter.

Now, David, you don’t suppose maybe the reason for your troubles at work might have anything to do with crap like this, do you?

Or, perhaps, this?

Your unfortunate readers only have your highly dubious word about these co-workers and CUSTOMERS being racist. But even assuming you’re telling the truth, starting arguments with customers and co-workers alike, no matter how douche-baggy they may or may not be, is probably why you’re facing problems at work and why you’re about to lose yet another job. For all you and your two little friends keep harping on me for my employment troubles, I at least have the excuse that the jobs I’ve taken over the past few years were temporary or seasonal and therefore had shelf lives with expiration dates. You, on the other hand, are combative and abusive toward others as a matter of habit. No one is under any obligation to put up with your incessant bullshit.

And this is not the first time you’ve gotten yourself fired for being abusive toward your co-workers.

This was not long after he’d gotten himself a job at the Art Museum. He was fired soon after. Coincidental, I’m sure…actually, probably not.

Riiiight, not your fault you were fired, Davey-boy. It’s always someone else’s fault you can’t hold down a job. It can’t possibly be your inability to get along with your co-workers, your supervisors, and the customers and clients of the places you get oh-so-briefly hired. It MUST be something else. I’m sure you’ll probably find a way to blame me, as usual.

Now, again, maybe these people really are racist. I don’t know. It’s difficult to say since we only have the word of a proven liar to go on. David only tells that side and interpretation of any given story that makes him look like the poor put-upon victim. He does this in a shameless effort to gain sympathy. His mother does this all the time, too. I remember back in the early 90s, the hag took a job cleaning at a veterinarian’s clinic and regularly started confrontations with her employer. She once described—boasted, really—how she’d shoved a wet mop head in his face so he could smell how filthy it was, simply because she didn’t like how supposedly infrequently the mop heads were changed out. Uh, stupid, you were mopping up animal urine as your job. Naturally it’s going to stink, even after one use. That’s why you’re supposed to properly wash, rinse, and dry the equipment afterward.

So yeah, clearly there’s a pattern of abuse, and then when people refuse to put up with it, behave like the victim and hide behind mental illness as the all-purpose excuse.

But it’s all just pretense in the end, isn’t it Davey-boy? You’re crazy, yes, for different reasons than you claim. You’re narcissistic, verbally and physically abusive, and psychotic. I know, I’ve seen the medicines you’ve been prescribed over the years and I know what mental derangements they’re used to treat. Here’s an idea: start taking your anti-psychotic meds again and maybe you won’t be quite so likely to start fights with everybody that result in you getting fired from job after job. It might also help your marriage.

Your insanity is treatable, David. That you refuse to get treatment is your choice, and no one else’s.

EVICTED: POVERTY AND PROFIT IN THE AMERICAN CITY

Recently I added to my reading list the excellent book, EVICTED: POVERTY AND PROFIT IN THE AMERICAN CITY by Matthew Desmond. It’s eye-opening for a number of reasons, and I highly recommend it to anyone wishing to understand the devastating effects of the housing crisis, especially on the nation’s poorest.

I found, not surprisingly, many parallels with my own situation. Housing instability is as much a cause of poverty as it is a consequence. Since 2011, I have had to move no fewer than four times, although the second two instances were voluntary: once to escape horrid conditions in the unit, and the latest because the owner is selling the house and I can’t stay. But four moves in seven years…it takes its toll. Rents keep going up, but incomes remain stagnant, putting stable, affordable housing out of reach for more and more people.

Here in the Greater Cleveland area, many landlords refuse to lease units to applicants who aren’t making at least three times the amount of rent—after taxes, utilities, food, and other expenses. Slumlords, such as those described in Desmond’s book, are much more flexible in that particular area, but the trade-off is providing substandard, often dangerously dilapidated housing that ultimately eats up so much of a tenant’s meager income that little or nothing remains for anything else, including food and utilities. This in turn forces people who otherwise wouldn’t need to go on public assistance end up depending on it just to survive—and when those benefits are slashed or eliminated altogether, tenants must then make the painful decision of whether to pay rent or feed their children; go homeless or go without badly needed medicine; freeze and risk frostbite or death inside the unit, or face the same fate out on the streets. When emergencies crop up, as they invariably do, impoverished tenants almost always find themselves falling behind and end up evicted because they cannot pay their rent.

I’ve thought back to the situations I’ve been in, that reflect what Desmond writes about. The last unit I dwelt in was infested with bedbugs and pantry moths, the electricity was substandard, my landlord-roommate kept the heat turned off most of the time, which actually did cause me to get frostbite on the tips of several toes (fortunately, the small black spots scabbed over and healed) and contributed to the pipes bursting on more than one occasion. But when I and other tenants in the building tried to get the homeowner to take action, we were ignored and given unrealistic quick-fixes such as turning on the kitchen stove and leaving it open while the furnace was broken down. Not even my roommate-landlord was keen on that.

If I hadn’t been in school and able to take advantage of student loans, I shudder to think how things might have ended up.

But these same sick scenarios are playing out all across the country, with no end in sight. Housing instability also leads to job instability, with eviction increasing the likelihood of a layoff by upwards of twenty-five percent. Under such circumstances, the loss of both home and job so often leads to the streets and the homeless shelters. Many are never able to recover.

Put someone in affordable, stable, permanent housing, however, and the changes cannot be ignored. People return to school to get degrees with which they can obtain decent-paying work. Depression fades away. Health improves as more income can go toward adequate food and drink. The entire outlook on life goes from pessimism to optimism.

Desmond suggests that a universal voucher system, which would cost a fraction of the federal budget at around twenty billion U.S. dollars annually, could eliminate homelessness by making housing affordable once again. I think that’s only part of the equation of what’s really needed. In addition to a massive green infrastructure providing education and jobs, caps must be placed on rents and utilities to bring the cost of living back down to reasonable levels. A universal voucher system as cure-all for housing instability sounds nice on paper, but without caps limiting how much landlords and utility providers can charge consumers, in tandem with a massive jobs program, it would be dismissed as just another handout and political will would not materialize.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the book. I highly recommend it in order to gain a wider understanding of the crisis.

Full Circle

It’s funny sometimes how life works out. Ten years ago I was working as an AmeriCorps VISTA with a local non-profit, and now I find myself back doing it again with another organization. I’ll be researching and writing grants primarily starting tomorrow.

I can’t say I’m not nervous about this. It’s another new start and that’s always somewhat daunting at the beginning, but that’s just another breaking-in period to experience, and I find I’m up to the challenge. I’ll also be going through some other transitions as this strange journey called life takes me on yet more turns both expected and unexpected, and I’ll blog about those later. But for now, another new chapter in my life is opening.

Wish me luck!

The Past Week

Aside from the usual bullshit from you-know-whom, things have more or less been going well this past week. On Monday I took in a bottle of mushroom ketchup I made over the weekend to present to my boss as a possible addition to the condiment menu, and to demonstrate my growing cooking skills. People who’ve tried it have liked it, and my boss seems impressed at my willingness to bring in recipes for things that might be added to the menu.

I went with a friend to take some photos using her Canon camera, which is close to the model I’m trying to raise money for, to do a comparison set highlighting the differences between my point-and-shoot and what a more professional camera can do. I have to say I’m impressed with the Canon. I stopped by a store that sells Canons, Nikons, and Sony cameras and tried out the display models on hand. I was less than thrilled with the quality of the pictures taken with the Nikon brand cameras. Canon just exceeded all my expectations, even on basic factory settings.

Finally, the opportunity to teach English in China is getting closer; the company with which I last had an interview wants to send a contract for me to look over, so I’m fairly confident they want me. If I can get my passport by the end of the month and I’m hired in, I might be on my way some time in October.

Wish me luck!