“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”

I wrote this on Mother’s Day  2017 after reading a blogpost about some women and children from the FLDS  polygamous group being evicted for not paying their taxes.  (I don’t know the details of their story, but I do know what it is like to enjoy the illusions of a security that is not mine, have a home ripped away, and then be homeless.)  I was NOT going to post my story because the last thing I need right now are more problems: Will my new employer see this blogpost and think I am a whistle-blower or problem-maker?  Will my manager decide not to renew my lease this summer because of a curl right in the middle of my forehead that swings to the left?  It doesn’t matter.  I have decided that I cannot let fear rule me.  More important than losing my home, is losing my voice. 

At this time, I will not include the business name. However, I will upload documentation from this time period in hopes of helping others take a stand to end discrimination and abuse.  Use Yelp, social media, a blog, go to small claims, or do whatever you have to in order to equal the playing field.  We don’t have to put up with bullies. 

My teenage daughter called me after work saying she could not stop the chirping fire alarm, and that she and Paige, our partially deaf cocker-spaniel, were going crazy with the constant high-pitched chirp.  It was getting in the way of her homework.

I arrived home after buying a new 9-volt battery.  After slipping the battery in, the insidious chirp continued; syncing the other fire alarms in the apartment did not relieve the noise.  I finagled with the fire alarm for a while deciding to walk away rather than smacking it with a broom handle, or pulling the entire system down, stucco and all.  

It was after office hours, so I decided to call the emergency number provided on ————- website.  I knew it wasn’t the usual emergency; a fire or flood, which seldom, if ever, had occurred in the apartments. A chirp later, I decided that the torture of not getting sleep because of the noise might create an emergency.  I remembered that I had been given a business card, and the maintenance man had put his phone number on the back of it.

“Why else would he live on the property and give people his number, unless it was to help residents,” I thought. “Certainly, he would not want us to have a chirping fire alarm.”     

I received no response from either phone call, which in the corporate world means: “You don’t matter.”

Only a few weeks earlier we had been threatened with an eviction.  Five months before that another eviction notice.  I was walking on a tight rope, and didn’t want to trip myself up, or give my manager a reason to trip me out of a home.  Two more years and my daughter would be an adult, and could find a roommate.  Then I could leave.

It wasn’t the noisy fire alarm that was pushing me over the edge, it was everything leading up to the fire alarm, and my body jumping every thirty seconds, as if a gavel was coming down.  The fire alarm represented being pushed out of our home like vermin, or an unwanted criminal being driven out of his hiding place.  I wasn’t either of those.  

“This time I will not be so nice!” I said to myself.

I looked up ———- Management company to find out if there were any other self-help remedies online.  I read the Yelp comments.  I was tempted to write one, but considered the fall out since I was still a tenant.  

On the other hand.

“A complaint on Yelp is not good enough — this deserves a viral video with the fire alarm beeping in the background while I talk,” I said to myself.  So, I pulled out my phone and began videoing a complaint.  

As I looked over the video, years of aging had carved creases and lines into my forehead, my eyes were now sunken, and my once full-eye brows were sparse and crooked.  “God, I look ugly,” I said to myself.  I had lost the glow of my youth.  “No one wants to hear an aging woman rant about a first world problem, especially when she is still dependent on low-income housing,” I thought, as I imagined others scolding me, “It’s better to have a beeping roof over your head than no roof at all.”

As I looked further online, within minutes, I learned how to disconnect the fire alarm without much effort.  

The day after the chirping incident, as I was driving to work there were two contrasting images that appeared.  I remembered, as a child, my mother telling me the story of a little girl with a curl right in the middle of her forehead, and when she was good she was very-very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.  I looked in the front view mirror at the crease between my brows wondering if that was a curl of indignance, an incorrigible woman.  Or, if my passive-aggressive emotions was me at my wits ends; continuing to place myself in a dependent role where those in authority could try and break me.     

Before the freeway, I turned towards my right, and along the grassy hidden trail next to the lake it appeared to be a wild horse running. As I looked closer, it was a cyclist wearing a brownish-colored shirt, unusual for a cyclist; his back laid flat to the pavement; he was so fast and swift.  I came home that evening and took a bike ride around the lake. This time, I didn’t care about the rusty chain and it’s loud clickety-clack.

 

 

2 Responses to “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”

  1. Harry says:

    Good depiction of both sides of the same coin. The push and pull of a ticking clock without hands. It’s getting there and back, without the aid of a simple returned phone call… Clicking kickstand down the path.

    • admin says:

      I always appreciate your thoughtful comments, Harry. We must come from the same mold (not as in fungus)…: ). Freedom fighters helping others. Except, lately I am learning to help myself, and helping others less. It’s difficult to ride with the kickstand down and a flat tire. It’s not even fun! You are a strong individual with so much to offer, and I wish you well in your endeavors to shine a light on the truth.

      During this post and afterwards, I was going through a difficult time with a bully employer. Someone close to me said they just give people what they want (or say what others want to hear), and it doesn’t bother them because afterwards they just do what they want. Okay. We are all so different. I am too honest, transparent (sensitive) and analytical to play games, and like clear boundaries. I choose my friends wisely. It is nice to have a few trustworthy friends in this life.

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