Maybe Next Year–Hanging onto Hope

back yard nov 2012On the Friday, the 21st, I felt great all day. I felt as if something wonderful was waiting for me up the road in this journey that is my life. But on Wednesday, gloom and disappointment returned. Oh, hell.

This house survived the 1906 quake. (in San Francisco). At some point, it was divided into two separate units. I live downstairs. The owner lives upstairs. From the start, I thought, What a great guy!  Five years later, I think, What a two-faced, insincere bastard.

I’ve lived here five years. After the first winter, I noticed mildew on a canvas I had leaning against the back wall of my bedroom. I moved my canvases to the other side of the room. Then I noticed mildew growing at the foot of my bathtub. Last year, I found some clothes in my closet covered with mildew and mold. I took them to the dry cleaners. Handling them gave me a headache. Fortunately, everything was black (most my clothes are) so if there were any stains left by the mildew and mold, they don’t show. I keep the closet and bathroom doors open for better ventilation. I have to leave the lid on the toilet up (normally I prefer the lid down) because I also get mildew inside the bowl, even though I clean it once a week. I’m a germaphobe: I keep my bathroom and kitchen and floors clean and disinfected! I wash my hands often. Well, not often, constantly, actually. O.K., obsessively. (I go through a lot of lotion.)

Last week I found some things in my closet with mold again! So, keeping the door open didn’t help. And yesterday I found mildew on a wall in my bedroom, and mildew growing in the medicine cabinet!

I took the clothes and hung them downstairs in the washroom. Again, it gave me a bad headache. I wanted them out of my apartment, and I wanted to make sure Eddie (not his real name), my landlord, saw them! Last summer I told him about finding mildew and mold on some of my clothes in the closet, and he just goes, “Oh, really?” with an idiotic smile on his face, his eyes shifting, like he didn’t want to look me in the eye. I knew he went for a swim in the river of de-nile. He’s good at that.

Soon after I moved in, I told him I heard a rat behind the wall. He said there were no Backyard in San Francisco“mice” here. I said, “I didn’t hear a mouse, I heard a rat.” I can’t explain how I knew it was a rat. You won’t believe me. O.K., I’ll tell you. I saw it in a vision dream. Sometimes information comes to me in a vision dream, or I could be awake, when POW! information comes to me. I “see” it. With my mind’s eye. I don’t know why this happens, or how, I only know it does. I’ve had this all my life. Too bad I can’t control it, like turn it on whenever I wanted to. Shit, I’d be rich! But I can’t. And I don’t really want to anyway. A Native American healer told me it’s a gift from the Creator. I told her it unnerved me. She told me not to be afraid of it. But it does unnerve me. Anyway, that’s another story for another time.

The rats have never come inside the apartment, but on occasion I hear them scratching and gnawing behind the wall. A week after I told Eddie I heard a rat, he found a dead one in the back yard. “I guess you were right,” he said. Yeah, I guess so, asshole. Now, he leaves rat poison in the washroom. We have found four dead rats in the washroom in the five years I’ve lived here. But Eddie still refers to them as “mice”. Fucking, stubborn jackass. I should call him Pharaoh, since he spends so much time in de-nile.

Sometimes I hear the rats squeak and thump around, and I imagine they are dying in agony. That makes me feel bad. I’d rather Pharaoh Eddie leave traps. That would kill them instantly, which is more humane. I know some people think rats shouldn’t be killed at all, but I think that’s silly. Rodents breed rapidly; they cause damage because they gnaw and nibble everything, they piss and shit, and certainly that is unsanitary, and they can carry serious diseases. Every so often I hear a news report about bubonic plague. It’s still around. Still, I hate to hear the rats suffer excruciating pain as they die. (There are some people who want to outlaw rat poison here in San Francisco, because other animals eat the dead rats, and they die too. I’m in favor of the ordinance. I hope they pass it.) I once was gonna tell Pharaoh Eddie that I heard a rat squeal and thump around and I knew it was dying, but he cut me off saying, vehemently, mind you, “THERE ARE NO MORE RATS! THEY’RE GONE!” It’s the first time I ever heard him say “rats” and not “mice”. I said, “I was only going to say that I feel sorry for them.” He didn’t say anything, just shut up and walked upstairs to his apartment. It was the first time ever that I felt like telling Pharaoh Eddie I think he’s a fuckhead. But I didn’t. And I won’t. At least, not as long as I live here.

I was very happy when I first moved in here. It’s a nice looking place. All renovated. Marble tops in the kitchen. Tile floors. A washer and dryer that don’t require coins. “This is your place,” Eddie said. “I want you to feel at home here.” So, sure, I thought, What a cool dude. On the surface, the place looks really nice. Solicitors often say, “You have a lovely house.” People just walking past say, “You have a beautiful house.” Yeah, it does look lovely. Eddie keeps it looking lovely. But there’s this shit that lurks in the shadows.

I have a perpetual runny nose, but when I house-sit for my daughter, who lives about 40 miles from here, it clears up. And I’ve noticed my memory getting really bad. Is that from the mildew/mold issue? I thought it was maybe too much weed once upon a time (many years ago). Or did I burn out too many cells when I used to drink recklessly? (Long time ago.) It worries me. I suspected Pharaoh Eddie knew about the mildew/mold issue before we moved in, but he tried to cover it up. I knew it for sure when he told me recently that he painted the bathroom with mildew resistant paint. Great. So, maybe there’s mildew behind the wall?

Anyway, he says he’s gonna have someone come check it out. That’s a good start. I hope next year is a better one than this year was. I had too many let-downs this year. And maybe there’s still something cool to look forward to up the road. I gotta hang on to hope. (Ha, I wrote “someone” instead of “something“. “…someone cool…” Hmm, Freudian slip?)


About Poet Dressed In Black

Poet. Artist. Grammy of one, a granddaughter. Mom of three, son and two daughters, all grown. Individualist. Care-taker of Isabel, an agoraphobic, fear-aggressive, very nervous, delicate flower, Chihuahua mix.
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