Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fare Thee Well.

It’s been an interesting, but short run for me on this sports blog.
Thanks to the many, many who have come by for a visit (or twenty).

Sadly, I’ve 'lived' in inhumane circumstances for much too long.  And it will be ending later today.

It started with some schmuck who decided to try to steal my camera when I was working down at Justin Herman Plaza at the Embarcadero on a sunny noon-time in January 2008.  Long story short, I chased him down.  Got my camera back.  But severely dislocated my shoulder in the process.

Without medical insurance, I incurred over $30,000 of medical bills and debt.  I had no idea the SFPD would charge $3,600 to show up at the scene even though not one of the fire ladder company ever got close enough for me to read their name badge.  It took over two hours for the EMT to deliver me to a hospital to have my shoulder re-set in the third hour.

Instead of the SF Victims of Violent Crimes Compensation Fund helping me with my medical expenses (as they are set up to do), they involuntarily committed me to the psych ward of Cal-Pacific Medical Center for a week.  A large part of my medical debt, to be sure.  All for saying how much this "f***'ed up my life."

The SFVVCCP later denied furnishing me with any compensation for my assault (they are set up to fund up to $70,000 in medical and living expenses for just such an incident).  After losing all my work and clients as a pro photographer for nearly 4 months while trying to recover, I was losing everything to debt while without income.

To skip forward a long ways, my 'family' was ‘supposedly worried about me after we hadn’t communicated for nearly three years.  They decided to drill the locks on my apartment, and they had SFPD put me in handcuffs when I came in, took my dog, and brought a clinical psychologist; who in 4 seconds determined to re-commit me involuntarily to the psych ward at SF General Hospital.  That was the early January this 2011.

When I got out 10 days later?  I was wearing no jacket, no socks, had no wallet, no ID, no credit cards, and not even my apartment or car keys.  I was in just some throw-together clothes I was out to walk my dog for just a few minutes.  I learned I had been evicted, and lost everything I owned.  Everything.  Including $7,200 I had saved up in cash to keep paying my expenses.

I spent three full months sleeping on the street.  Homeless and penniless.  After 6 weeks, I finally found a sleeping bag.  Eventually, I had enough blankets, clothing and jackets to stay warm.  In mid-February, my ‘family’ decided to ‘help’ by putting me up in a $140/week sleeze ‘hotel’ in Chinatown.  They said their intent was to help me get back on track.

After the one week, I was broke again, having been given only enough for the one week's rent.  I spent my 40th birthday returing my room key and going back to being homeless, for the second time.

In April, my 'family' helped spend enough to get me an SRO room for rent.  I still had only two changes of clothes and no personal possessions from my previous life, after three months sleeping on the streets.  But I did get my dog back from the animal shelter.  Apparently, my 'family' charged me all of my $7,200 cash for that privilege.

Along with a $1 belt, one of the only things I bought was a small, very cheap $4 transistor radio to allow me to listen to the Giants games.  I had no possessions.  No work.  No friends.  My 'family' had taken away my life and stolen from me everything I owned.  My dog was sick and not able to ever be left unattended.  So, I took a little solace in listening to the Giants games and radio broadcasts to help while the slow days would go by me without further hope.

My 'family' somehow ‘supposedly’ retained possession of many of my things, but I have yet to see this.  Still, to this day I am without much of my $10,000 in photo equipment, some was returned damaged and destroyed, and my desktop computer was ‘given back’ to me in non-working condition.  I lost my car.  I lost my clothes, my work, my portfolios and samples from when I worked as a fashion designer for such companies as Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie, Triple Five Soul, and Avirex- almost all I ever owned.

They were giving me a couple hundred dollars to live on each month.  That stopped in July, after four months, when I refused a cell phone they bought for me and wanted to 'give' to me, but charge me $100 per month out of my $200 of cash per month.  The last time I had spending money for things like toilet paper, soap, dog food, and toothpaste was early in July.

I have been served with an ‘3-day to pay or quit’ eviction notice on Tuesday, October 4th.
No doubt, sometime later today, I will have police at my door.  Maybe I will be home.  Maybe the surveillance cameras will cue the management when I leave to walk my dog, and they will hurriedly take possession while I am already out.

The fact is, I have hardly even had 10-cents to my name for a couple weeks now.  Without any of the tools or possessions I would need to attempt to get my life back together, I am at the mercy of my 'family's' decisions.  And they have chosen to not give me any more money as of July, 2011.

I’ll be damned if I would ever go back to living homeless and on the streets.

I believe sports can teach each of us to enjoy the simpler things.  To persevere.  But this situation is something of a magnitude much larger than me.  I have enjoyed whittling away my lost time and occupying my mind with notions of what I would hope the Giants 2012 roster may be like.  Call it stupid or fantastical if you will.  But do not judge for me the limited ways I can spend my time.

I wish for the Giants to do well, and make all of San Francisco proud again.

It is not many people who know the time and the day that their time will come.

Apparently, I am one who does.

I will spend the rest of my time nurturing my dog, Kira, whom I love dearly and will be tremendously sad to be separated from.  She has brought me much joy when I have so little.


Image credits:  all photos are my own original photographs.

No comments:

Post a Comment