Somehow, James idea of living in my previous precious little apartment has come to the same conclusion as my Deli job. All risen bread needs to rise, usually in a proofer, as I have risen to the occasion of finding two fine jobs I can work with. However, all cannot happen at the same time without honesty.
James failure was not being honest about his live-in girlfriends rising belly. Mine was not making the grade at the Deli. I guess my bread rising skills suffer.
Bertha W.’s upset with James because he moved in with the intention of having his momma-baby live there permanently. He put her on the mailbox, but not on the lease. I can see Bertha’s point of view: Having a ready-made illegitimate family in a one-room efficiency apartment. What next: a cat?
A landlord with honesty. She asked me for strict rules: no pets, don’t give your keys out, don’t copy keys, no subletting. I obeyed. So, I called her.
One, two, three, four, five rings...I’m expecting the answering machine to pick up. A groggy voice answers, “hello.”
“Hello, this is Craig,” I announce. “Bertha?”
“Hi, this is Craig,” pausing, wondering why not an angry response. She’s familiar with my Caller ID, so why the slow response, I think. “Um, you asked me to call you about the apartment and I was wondering how James was working out?”
And now is the time I always dread: listening intently to those who ramble trying to get to their point. June W. always told me I was a good listener. That was because; well, because a lot of things, mostly because she has the sexiest phone voice I’ve ever experienced; anyway, listening for things.
She’s slow, definitely no anger in her voice, but displeasure at James way of deceiving her. Something about diversions in Vegas, women, lying about workdays, etc., things a normal landlord should not be concerned with, but she did come to one point: There’s a woman living there who was not on the lease, and she’s five months pregnant. How that measures on the Bertha anger scale of having violating the pet-clause is no man’s guess.
Introducing a pet into an apartment is much like having an unplanned pregnancy. You fall in love, playfully, touching, petting, snuggling, then something happens. You fall; either in love with the pet, or madly in bed with the woman. Either way, something unexpected happens that you have to live with for seven to eighteen years of your life, depending on the species. It’s only then that you think to call your landlord to get permission.
Five months is a little to late for Bertha. When you fall in love with a pet, you call to find out what the pet-deposit is. When you rent an apartment, you better not have plans to move a five-month pregnant woman in without putting her on the lease. You can always decline the pet.
Which reminds me, Darla V. asked me if she’d like to move in with me. I didn’t mention it to Bertha when she brought the subject of a second tenet up, but at least I know how to handle it: upfront and honest. And I’m not sure how I’d feel about Darla living with me. We’re only somewhat compatible, and she has different hours. She’d have to have her own keys, so she’d have to be on the lease. Her father has told her she has to move out, so she’s motivated. It’s not ideal. We’re not that compatible in bed, and it’s be awkward at best to have another sleep over.
The pressing need to escape The Mission leaves me with violent solutions to this morning’s shave. A black man, all up about himself that he must put down every white man he meets while showering and shaving confronts me with violent threats while I’m trying to shave. This is so fucked! This little boy of a man needs to be taught a lesson, I’m so thinking. He pushed me aside to intentionally anger me so we couldn’t share a mirror, which he then smears with water just to piss me off. Teach this guy a lesson. Take his knees out! Reminding myself that I don’t know how to fight, that I’ve been trained to disable an attacker, I choose to acquiesce to this rude man’s demands. However, it does not stop me from staring him down. I wonder, how can a man be so cocky about living in a place that you cannot call home?
Oh, this violent mirrored racism pours over to the bus I board. I hear from the black back of the bus the all too common black racist complaints usually reserved for the late evening. However, this morning, a black girl speaks out load, “Black people don’t usually read papers anyway!”
I reactively stand up to confronter her and find a black woman just across the isle also standing in protest. She was ready to get into it! We look at each other with mouths open ready to attack, when both become smiles. At the same time, a black woman and a white man stood up on a bus to protest this lame bias. We both smiled at each other, realizing the polarization of races was both correct and incorrect in the same audible space, and both laughed it off and smiled. The crass young black girl eventually was asked by the bus driver to stifle her words or get booted. Shit like that happens all the time in the back of the Saint Paul busses when black people ride together. I call it Jim Crow Back Lash. Hopefully, eventually, it’ll stop. But most most of my friends feel that Jim Crow will not halt in their life time. I, unfortunately, agree.
It’s amazing. Not too many cities name a street adjacent to their capital after Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet, black people from the south think we’re still prejudice. Arizona was denied a Superbowl because they refused to acknowledge this important holiday. I was blown away! This group of football jerks thought that it was important enough to respect this man’s great thought to pull the most financially beneficial nod to their city because of...of what? Well, because race is only an issue, if you make it an issue.
I met same good friends today in search of my next bed. Many of them black. They never hesitated to acknowledge me, and I knew them, but didn’t know their names, nor where I’d met them. There’s been so many places that I’ve lived in Saint Paul. There’s been so many that I’ve like to forget, yet there are people I’d like to remember.
I hate looking back, but I chose to live in Saint Paul.
It’s my only day off. It’s good though, since I really only have so many things to do, and so many hours to work. I need the hours.
Riding up the steep capital hill, I remember...just that evening before, arriving on the LTD bus just past the capital building. I’d missed my stop and arrive at the bus stop that places you right in front of the state’s capital. Explaining, in vain, my mistake not to pull the stop trigger in time before the bus diverted from it’s normal route, I’m left pulling my bike from the bus in a completely unpopulated area.
The bus drives away. I’m left standing in front of a fully lit capital building. All her marble exposed to the retina in 11”x14” splendor, actually better than that. She, unlike other great photographers, who usually wear glasses, I’ve been blessed with perfect vision. So, when I stepped off that bus, all I saw was beauty. Crystallized marble in all directions in a manner of resolution that you can only imagine in the finest film, yet it was in person, in front of my eyes, fully lit, ready to be captured. And me with no camera.
It reminded me of a tour of the capital I once had that disclosed the fact that Abraham Lincoln was out first president. I was exposed to his image, without trademark hat, in a senate room. The tour guide had said, “This is our first president.” Okay, he’s great, but he’s not our first, I thought. Then he explained, he was our first president that we’ve elected. That made me very proud to live in Minnesota.
The capital’s image has been latent in my retina; I’m sure it’s be replicated on film soon. Digital will not do it justice. But, there are so many other things I could do with her image, I know.
Sleep has become the major factor, as it has been in the past. Only now, I have little control over it. I share a bed next to a bunk that has a man that clearly has anger issues. Round about 3:00am he goes into these fits where he talks in his sleep. He acts out violent encounters. I mean it’s like you’re their and defending yourself. In the morning, he wakes and acts like nothing happens.
I can’t sleep like that. I need another place to sleep at night.
I finally got all my hour for the next two weeks from The Discount Store and they leave me with almost 40 hours of work, which I needed, and a schedule I can present to The Deli. However, that’s too late.
I will wait out my schedule and find another job that fits my Discount Store schedule. Until then, I’ll just sit tight.
So many things happened today that I used to instinctively know how to handle, yet felt a need to rethink how I should respond to them. Much less, towards June, but much more towards others. I’ve done wrong, and I may have already paid for it, and may be able to correct it, but I have to continue.
I have found God, in the unlikeliest places, but he’s there. Jesus, I’m pretty sure, is his son. The rest, I’m not so sure of. I’m not really sure if that’s all important to life on Earth, but I know that people search. That’s what we do. Whether God or science, we all look for an answer. It’s the marriage of the two that perplexes me, why not?
I am blessed with the best ears for my struggle through this strangely sobering experience. I can’t say that I have the feedback of the worst of my protractors. What I’ve done is made a mistake in the eyes of every expert when it comes to twelve steps. That’s fine. I haven’t backed these twelve steps, as I shouldn’t. I’ve failed.
But, I’m ready to sleep on it. Tomorrow, I’ll go to work.
I love the fact that I can just type out what I think, before I go to any meeting, before I go to work, before I get on any bus filled with racist blacks angry at the white man in the North. I can just let my mind put myself back to sleep.
Tomorrow, I’ll solve the suburbs’ photographic world’s problems. Tonight, I’ll merely solve those of a man who can’t find the fine difference between a line and a fine lady.