Tuesday, October 12, 2021

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

     Just yesterday, I'd written a post announcing the passing of my son's fiancee, Elyse Probst. This was a terrible shock to our immediate family, obviously. Elyse was literally the kind of person whom people say, "To know her is to love her." In fact, I've just spoken with my son, Adam, who tells me the family will cremate her and that her services will be on the 18th. Elyse wasn't an Orthodox Jew but she was proudly Jewish and no doubt she'd learned from the Torah the famous saying, "He who saves one life saves the whole world."
     This came on the heels of learning in August that Mrs. JP's sister Susan suddenly passed away in Vero Beach, Florida.
     Then about 45 minutes ago, we just got word that our landlord Bill had died several weeks ago and we're literally the last people in the building to hear of this. Bill had reportedly died of COVID-19.
     The scary thing is that Bill never wore a mask and he'd been in our house to check the water just a couple of weeks before he died. He always struck me as one of those right wing, anti-mask, antj-vax assholes and, knowing this, over the past year Mrs. JP and especially yours truly always wore a mask when dealing with him.
     The day after he was last in our house to check the water pressure, he gave us a notice to quit when I'd told him on September 1st that our rent was late. Yes, he tried evicting us again because our rent was late by one day for the first time in 150 consecutive months. He didn't wear a mask that day, either, and he died 2-3 weeks later.
     What's creepy about this scenario is that it's one that I'd run in my head for years, especially since COVID became a thing nearly two years ago. Knowing Bill never wore a mask, I imagined (and, I hate to say it, can't altogether say I wasn't hoping for this), I predicted Bill's widow would inherit all his properties and resume collecting rent. (Legal Disclaimer to the Powers That Be: Imagining a certain scenario does not in any way, shape or form guarantee the Imaginer has any power or influence over aforementioned scenario.)
     This is now a reality and everything I'd imagined is coming true to the last detail. Now that she's managing his real estate and other business affairs, she's going around settling debts and outstanding rent. But, as I'd wondered in all those scenarios I'd run in my head, what would the long term strategy be? What kind of a landlady would she be?
     These are just some of the questions I'd had months and years ago and now that they're very real concerns, it's a looming reality.
     But for now, it feels as if a crushing weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm not going to lie just because he's dead. He was a baleful, crushing burden on us because he'd made known his desire to get us out of this unit even before he'd taken over the property. As stated in a previous post, he flipped his own apartments when tenants were evicted or moved out, then he'd jack up the rent 50% or so.
     He put our names on the Commonwealth's court database last spring over a lie then tried to throw us out in the street again when our rent was late by a single day for the first time in the 12 1/2 years I've been living here. And that salts our earth and fucks up our chances of getting another unit when it's time to finally leave. Even dead, he's still ruining our lives.
     So, while I wouldn't wish COVID-19 on my worst enemy (and two of them have contracted it), it can't be said Bill will be missed by those of us who were victimized by him.
     All the same, 2021 has been a strange, surreal year. Republican voters and activists are telling other Republicans to vote Democrat and against Republican lawmakers who didn't embrace the Big Lie. Over a quarter of the population refuses to get vaccinated against the deadliest plague in over a century. And people around us are dropping like flies.
     I'm fond of saying that normalcy is overrated but, after last year and, especially, this year, normalcy is exactly what we need more of.


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