June 10, 2005

Doing Time on Crack Street

Well, I did it. I finally moved from the hell that was my last apartment. Being chased out by the new tenant below me was the final straw. I actually owe her thanks for her delusions compelling me to find safe harbor. I do feel sorry that she is paranoid schizophrenic, but why did she also have to be on crack / marijuana / bad tap water also? This story isn’t for the faint of heart or those short of laughter. Tread lightly.

Crack and Crazy are a lethal combination, it isn’t cute either. (Enter U-Haul Truck here). After several calls to the property management, I was referred to the police. After calling the police 3 times, I was told to get a restraining order. Gee, why hadn’t I thought of that? (Insert rolling eyes here). All I really needed is a useless piece of paper as kryptonite to ward off the Demon Crackhead that told the police that I was “following and spying” on her INSIDE her apartment. (Cue the theme to the “Twilight Zone”).

Only I would have a stalker that recognized me from high school. After an initial mediation in the hallway with Officer Bored, Miss CH (Crackhead), in a brief moment of supposed lucidity said, “Now I know you, didn’t you go to _______ High School?” Oh. Great. All I want is to peacefully coexist in this landmine of a building and I wind up with The High School Reunion from Hades. Now mind you, I didn’t recognize this woman from a can of paint, but from this difficult negotiation, I THOUGHT that she would stop banging on my door threatening to pulverize me (insert her swearing & foaming of the mouth here). The fact that I didn’t even know that she had moved downstairs in the 1st place didn’t matter. This is what happened when I forgot to read the Crackhead Tenancy Memo that week. (Sarcastic look) She promised to stop terrorizing me and I went back inside my apartment, locking all 17 deadbolt locks. (joke).

The building wasn’t always like that. When I moved in, I thought it was the ideal environment. School across the street and it was close to bus lines and grocery stores. But the brochure failed to mention the eventual laundry room thefts where the machines would be vandalized for spare change. Looks are so deceiving. I would have never guessed in 2 years that the seemingly quiet abode that housed 22 other families would metamorphosis, within 3 months, into the Drop Inn center for every 20 something drug dealer forced to move back in with his mama or young single mothers that moonlight as bootleg call girls at night. The front walk way became a sea of Styrofoam and fast food bags, beer bottles and the occasional over ripened diaper. The back stairwells were littered with used condoms and trash bags that broke down before being carried another 50 feet to the outside dumpster. I didn’t see the condoms, because I seldom went to that side of the building without an armed escort, mace, taser, tear gas or a grenade.

The handwriting on the wall was when the original management company jumped ship and disappeared almost overnight. I felt sorry for the new property managers walking into this abyss of urban dysfunction. For the record, there was a cluster of good law abiding families also living there, but like me, they were either trying to move or wishing that the Band of Merry Crackheads would just leave. Good tenants had to wade through the crowd of broken lawn chairs, baby strollers, and menacing young men and women wearing their urban uniforms of Phat Farm, baggy pants, throwback jerseys, the latest gym shoes or bandanas. It had gotten to the point that trying to gain entrance at the front door was similar to seeing if you were on the “A” list at a trendy new nightclub. All that was missing was a velvet rope.

Crackhead Concierge: “Yes, may I help you?”

Me: “Uhmmm, I live in Apt. # 1”

Crackhead Concierge: “Okay, and who is your sponsoring Crackhead?”

Me: “My WHAT????”

Crackhead Concierge: “I’m sorry, you aren’t on the list. However, if you give me your DVD player, I can see what I can do.”


Why didn’t I move before now? I was obstinately na├»ve and defiant. Why should I have to leave? Why should people, that don’t take stock in their own homes, force their illegal and trifling lifestyles on others? *sigh* I really wanted to think that my calm demeanor, civility, prayers and tears would change them. Yeah, I had my delusions too.

Calling the police made me a target. Go figure that by asserting my rights as a tenant would cause the “Walking Dead” to glare and snarl at me. Excuse me, but if you are doing so much dirt that you have to run in the house when a siren comes by, maybe it’s time to get out of the “game”.

Drugs are dismantling neighborhoods, home by home. It’s so sad that the grip of addiction has its own set of collateral damage. Children being neglected, incidents of domestic violence, thefts, shootings, financial devastation and ruin, unemployment, incarceration, and sometimes murder are part of the pathology that plagues cities across the country. Listening to the approaching incidents of drug related crimes in my area pressed me to a renewed sense of urgency, but a feared state of inertia.

I understand that addiction is a disease, but it is a CHOICE. I shouldn’t be held hostage by someone’s preference to indulge in smoking or selling drugs. Moving outside my comfort zone was the only solution. I may not be close to downtown and familiar surroundings anymore, but peace of mind is priceless.

And besides, they can’t pawn THAT anyway.







6 comments:

steve said...

I am throwing up prayers and laughter for you! That is a great story! (in the laughter sort of way and not the painful gotrunouttamyplacebyacrackhead kinda way)

Sepialove said...

TY Steve! God has truly blessed my family and placed us in the best enviroment now.

I love your song "Sanctuary". May I feature it in on my blog?


Sepia

Faith in Florida said...

I really laughed at this one, b/c I SO FEEL YOU!! And it was great writing too:)

steve said...

Feel free to feature the song. Glad you like it!

steve said...

it's a love song for God!

Eddie said...

Wow! And I thought I had it bad. I live in what is considered "suburban projects" but it pales in comparison to that. It's good to see that you can keep a sense of humor about it. Keep ya head up!