Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Saturday, February 05, 2011

We have a much larger problem

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We have a much larger problem than the configuration and appearance of my possessions and animals.

I called you, per your private message to me on Facebook. You repeatedly stated your concerns about my possessions and I listened politely. I tried, several times, to address some of your concerns, which I thought I had already, when we met in person at your home, but you would interrupt me to re-state your concerns.

In addition, you began complaining about your offer to help me move my things to your house: a proposal you volunteered and for which I had not asked. At your home, you had made it seem as though helping me haul my travel trailer, animals, utility trailer and a few, loose packing containers would not be difficult. But, in the phone call, you repeatedly told me it was a hardship for you, that your associates not only did not want to assist, but were actively advising you not to rent to me. You told me you were undergoing a tremendous risk in assisting me and began listing all the ways it would cost you, including the unsubstantiated notion that you would have to buy tires for me, which I know is unnecessary and for which I did not ask.

I have laryngitis and am having difficulty breathing, let alone speaking. I asked, several times, for you to listen to me. You don't know it, but I was trying to speak to you, and you could not even hear me. You were yelling into the phone. I was holding my receiver at arm's length, and could hear every word. You could not hear me.

When I finally began repeating, "May I please speak now?" you agreed to allow me to speak. The moment I did so, you hung up on me!

I called you back and asked if you had hung up on me. You said you had, and blamed me. You accused me of being unwilling to take photos of my possessions; you accused me of not listening to you; you said I did not understand how concerned you were that my possessions would cause you a hardship. These were your justifications for hanging up on me, but none of them were true. Had you allowed me to speak, you would have known that. I repeatedly asked that you not hang up on me in the future. You justified your "right" to do so by implying my behavior was inappropriate and, if it was again in the future, you would hang up again.

Then, you lied and said you hung up because you thought I was done speaking! I never got the chance to speak whole sentences before you'd hung up.

My digital camera is packed. I don't even know how to use it yet; it's brand new. The old one never worked right. I have to unpack it, find all accessories, study the manual, take the pictures, upload the pictures and send them to you. That's a lot of work, in addition to trying to pack in sub-freezing weather with snow on the ground, coughing violently, bleeding from the sinuses.

At some point, you even implied that my behavior was so inappropriate, you insinuated that you were having second thoughts about renting to me.

I hung up from the second phone call in tears. I see, from your behavior during this phone call, that you do not seem to respect me even enough to show common courtesy. I see that you seem willing to threaten to throw me off your place any time you decide I've done something wrong, whether or not I have done so. I see that, in order to live there, I would have to constantly be nervous, would have to avoid you, and potential confrontations with you, that I would never feel safe or welcome, that you would put future unreasonable demands on me and expect me to endure disrespect and probably even verbal abuse in order to live there.

I have been actively seeking housing, all over New Mexico, for five months. I was very relieved at the prospect of a safe, quiet place to live, near city amenities, where my possessions, my animals and my person would be safe. We haven't been safe for five years. I hitch hiked a hundred miles, round trip, the day I came to see your place, trying to recover from the flu. I have worked VERY hard to outfit this travel trailer, pack up, take down fences, etc. I've done the work of five men, sick, alone, with inadequate tools, all to keep us safe.

I cannot risk living with someone who cannot respect me on the most superficial level of not hanging up on me, not screaming at me, not constantly interrupting me, not accusing me of things I never did, not implicitly threatening me with homelessness. What if, in a rage, you called the police and accused me of trespass or something much worse? I can't do it. I can't do it to my animals. And I can't afford to lose that travel trailer; I still have to make payments on it, whether or not it is in my actual possession.

I can't afford to lose EVERYTHING to someone who appears to get what he wants by bullying, throwing tantrums, threatening, obsessing on my personal life and accusing me of outlandish things that have nothing to do with me.

As of this moment, I have to assume I STILL have no place to live, because I don't think, based on my experience of you yesterday, that I can trust you. You TERRIFIED ME yesterday! Do you have ANY idea how disappointing, terrifying, heart breaking that is?

If you want me to be a tenant, and work in your garden, I will need the following:

Apologize for hanging up on me and make a commitment to treat me with respect in the future.

Allow me to speak to your concerns.

Make a written commitment that I may rent from you for a minimum of six months. I would prefer a year.

Tell me how you will decide how much electricity per month I am expected to pay.

Respect my privacy and time.

Do not yell at me, either by telephone or in person.

Don't invent excuses to threaten me or accuse me of things I've never done or even thought about.

Allow me to live on your property in peace, with dignity.

If you cannot agree to these stipulations, I cannot risk losing everything I own, having invested all the money I have to move there. 

Facebook comments

D D you’re an idiot, I didn’t yell at you or hang up on you, you need Help I am sorry you have to make all this BS good luck have a nice day?
51 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
Rogi Equality Riverstone Yes, you did. And now you call me an "idiot." You need to take personal responsibility for your behavior.
8 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
Rogi Equality Riverstone I guess this behavior is why your other tenants moved out so fast and why your two rooms are vacant. You do NOT get to abuse people like this and expect them to thank you, let alone pay you. You are confirming everything I've suspected in my letter. Why should I endure such abuse to live under a tree in a parking lot?
6 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
Rogi Equality Riverstone You need help at your house and I need help with housing, but this behavior is unacceptable.
6 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
Rogi Equality Riverstone I don't know if you are intentionally lying, or if you really are in so much denial about your own situation that you actually believe you didn't hang up on me or yell into the phone or interrupt me constantly. That's terrifying.


Scott said...

Oh Rogi I hope something works out if not this.

This person probably just doesn't understand you. They are probably too afraid of what others think though they had good intentions to start.

It's too bad that our society is so cruel to anyone who isn't conformed and who lives life on their own terms. My hope is that one day it will be different and people will be cherished for what is unique about them and encouraged to be themselves and fulfill their potential in the best possible way and that people who are different like us won't have to keep moving on until we die looking for a place that we can finally call home.

Rogi said...

He can't understand anything if he won't listen.

And I do not live life on my own terms; I'm not allowed to do that. I just scrape together whatever I can to try to stay alive on the margins, in the outskirts, of a society that hates, reviles and condemns people who are poor, have disabilities, don't look like magazine pictures, have limitations, etc.

It took a great deal of courage for me to write that letter; I REALLY NEED HOUSING! But I don' t think we would be safe there, if he won't commit to treating me with basic civility and common courtesy. He terrified me yesterday.