By Adam Engel
It’s a long story…then again, aren’t they all…
So I thought I was subletting an apartment, “rent stabilized” at $1350 from my sister, who was recently married, without realizing the absentee “landlord,” BSG Management Inc. (duh!) is trying to squeeze out such ne’er do-wells as my sister, who’s lived here and paid them rent for FIFTEEN YEARS, so they can charge the current “market value” of $3600/month for said shit-hole (well, I’ve been in worse shit-holes; this is a “doorman” building; but still, I’m living in essentially a studio for what should be the price of a mortgage). So they’ve been “calling” my sister, who, though a well-intentioned, kind person — to me, at least — lives in their bourgeois world, and like the bourgeois, is in total denial of the impending total collapse and imminent police-state (did I say imminent?) We’ve been under occupation since October 1st, officially, haven’t we?) still believe they’re in Disneyland where everything works out to their advantage as long as they pay through the nose. We don’ need no steenkeen Second Law of Thermodynamics…
My sister, of course, has a friend who’s a real estate lawyer who’s threatening THEM with “harassment” etc. etc. etc.
Like I NEED this shit? I just wanted a place to read and think for the winter and hopefully figure a way outta this One-trick Magic Kingdom, or deeper into it – living off credit cards going “home” to my wife, and dog on week-ends. (Note: I intend to pay back every penny — at the minimum rate, regardless of “interest” accrued, once the economy gets back on its feet again – wink, wink; nudge, nudge. It’s a waiting game: sooner or later one of us is gonna fall, me or the Bank; who knows, maybe I’ll play the Lottery like the folks at the Deli next door, who drop $20, $30, even $50 a day of money they don’t have for millions they’ll never see – well one lucky person might “win”, but “they” won’t, and certainly not “we.” Anyway, what does it say about the value of work, when those who work hate their lives so much, they’ll gladly piss away hundreds of “honest wages” for fantasy millions of ill-gotten gain – gambling, no? At least in Vegas, though the house always wins, the rube gets to win sometimes…)
So as I said, the “Super,” a rat for management who keeps meticulous records of who comes in and out, found that my parents — last name: Engel — stayed TWO week-ends and my wife last name: Engel, stays every Tuesday night. Uh OH! These bums are trying to screw management by allowing family members to stay as guests while paying a mere $1350 a month when the CORPORATION can easily get $3600 from bigger, wealthier bums!!!
So as I said, they’ve been calling my sister, who sells “green” spin control to Corporations via her PR COMPANY (READ: The Pursuit of Pure Talk). She said she and her lawyer friend, her best pal from high school, smart, competent woman, but surely not one to inspire terror at close-range, are “handling it.”
Call me sexist, but in cases like these, that is, face-to-face combat among us peons, the best kind of lawyer/representative one can have, if one is aware of one’s surroundings, is an intelligent, articulate, experienced six-foot two inch 210 pound Alpha Male Gorilla, like my own high school “pal,” Dave, a millionaire foreclosure lawyer — allegedly with a “conscience;” he feels “bad” about forcing families from their homes — whose inherent violence, though sublimated by the byzantine “legal process” is palpable in such “personal situations.” If you’re doing corporate law, where no one really sees you except occasionally at a meeting, it doesn’t matter — a “unisex” situation; if you’re doing courtroom law, where you want to win over a jury, it helps to be an attractive, petite, sympathetic, articulate woman; if you’re doing dirt-work confronting Corporate thugs and thuggettes, it sure as hell helps to have “body language” and a body capable of “speaking” loud and clear…
Nevertheless, in this make-shift case, my five-seven 150 lb. outraged, un-sublimated, “presence,” stoked with righteous indignation, had to do. Also, I was wearing my “Homeland Security…Fighting Terrorism Since 1492” t-shirt, complete with large photo-image of Geronimo and associates.
So…the “super” asked, as I was walking out, stick (cane, but I hate to call it that; makes me sound crippled or old) in hand, and asked me where “Your Sister” is. I asked him “Who wants to know?” Somewhat less truculently, he put on the ingratiating, “Hi, I’m the Superintendent, Bena,” routine. He held out his hand, which I didn’t shake, and I said, “Why do you want to reach my sister?
“I tried calling, she didn’t answer,” he muttered.
Anyway, after some mild “harassment” on his part, I said, “OH! You mean you’re the JANITOR! Well, I got a doorbell that needs fixing. You’re not doing your job.”
BSG Management. He doesn’t have to fix anything until the ‘tenant of record’ fills out a form. I tried calling the tenant of record, but she refused the courtesy of a return call.”
“Oh, did she? Maybe you’re harassing her,” says I (”harassing” seems to be a big word among these systems administrators/enablers, or what Malcolm X. called “house slaves” as opposed to us – soon to be house-less? — “field slaves”).
“WE’RE not harassing her!” says Ms. BSG.
“WE know what she’s up to.”
“Oh? What might that be?” I asked.
“WE know she’s married and she has no right to give this place to you.”
I didn’t want to get involved with bullshit, so I told her to call ‘the tenant of record’ and walked away. But damned if my “inner voice” didn’t start HARASSING ME, forcing me to remember every situation in which I’d backed down from a fight and how each one haunted me always and forever.
Soooo…I returned, and started to explain to the Janitor that he was a rat, a serf, a kapo, and a minion — politely, of course. When the woman piped in “I’m his supervisor, and I say…”
“–I don’t care who the FUCK you are, Ms. BSG. I’m talking to Bena the Janitor.”
Bena, being “chivalrous” — ass-kissing, actually — started in about how I shouldn’t be acting “like this” and cursing in front of a “woman.” So I said, in just so many words, “You mean, your Master.”
“Yes she is my Mast– no! My Supervisor!”
Then Ms. BSG got on her cell-phone and called HER supervisor and told him she spoke to “the brother” who was rude and “cursed her out.”
THAT’S cursing somebody out? I’d hate to imagine her idea of a full-blown rebellion.
Well. Derrick Jensen is right. Violence can only flow smoothly downwards, NOT upstream. Here I am, defending myself, and I daresay, my sister, against the accusations of this hierarchy of toadies vying for the approval of supervisor, hauptsupervisor, uberhauptsupervisor etc., so BSG can kick out a tenant of fifteen years for an extra $2150/month, and I DARED speak “violent language.” Really now, what on earth can be MORE VIOLENT than harassing someone to leave their home so that The Lords of the Manor (etymology of “landlord?”) can profit from his/her vacancy? Didn’t the “settlers” do that to the Indians? The Israelis to the Palestinians? The KKK to “freed” black people?
So as not to be out-shined, the doorman, whose supervisor, I assume, is Bena, the janitor mumbled something about I shouldn’t be behaving this way he can’t understand what’s happening to people these days what are they losing their minds (as well as they’re homes) etc. etc. etc.? What was I supposed to do, coax him from his New York Post to debate him about the Corporate State, Systems, Hierarchies, Class Warfare?
Once, a long, long, long time ago (East Village, 1993; 10th between B&C, where Ginsberg once lived, right across the street from where Charlie Parker once lived, and the place hadn’t been “improved” since, though I was paying an outrageous, for the time, $620/month: it now goes for about $2000. Just what kind of MORONS would pay that for a shit-hole? Even if I were Bill Gates I wouldn’t pay that much for an old tenement studio, which is why “HE’S Bill Gates, and WE’RE NOT”)…uh…where was I?
…oh yeah, once, when me and the other tenants got fed up with the garbage strewn elevator with bullet holes in it; the broken front door that allowed junkies to hang out in the halls 24/7; the numerous repairs in various apartments and the building in general that were never made, we organized a RENT STRIKE, assisted by a lawyer from GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), a non-profit tenants’ rights organization. We held the rent in an escrow account, and refused to pay until our “demands” (stated above) were met. The GOLES lawyer told us that the “absentee landlord” was actually a Corporation running slums in Harlem and the Bronx, had lawsuits out the wazoo and didn’t want any more bad publicity.
SlumLords Inc. eventually gave in. More importantly, me and my fellow paranoid tenants got to know one another, and talk, and become actual friends and neighbors. A community united by common purpose. But that was long, long, long ago, when rat-and-roach infested tenement studios went for a “mere” $620/month.
As I was leaving, Bena told HIS serf, the doorman, to “call the police if anything –”
“If WHAT? Why don’t you call the police right NOW?”
“I say call police if you do anything stupid,” Bena replied, careful to avoid eye-contact.
“I don’t do stupid things,” I said.
“Why, you’re being stupid right NOW, cursing in front of a woman and all.” said the DoorMouse.
Now I see how the phony Hillary/Palin “feminism” — as opposed to the true feminism, which is of course the antithesis of this hierarchy of Beta male baboons trying to ‘make it’ with the invisible Corporate Alpha, who of course doesn’t exist, in a palpable sense — works to the advantage of the “Alpha Males” (cowering in collective Corporation).
They hire a female serf, who can insinuate that merely by living there and paying an outrageous rent, I’m “pulling something,” and moreover, my sister who’s lived in the place for almost two decades, and my wife and parents who stayed as guests, were in on the racket, and I’m not “behaving” if I talk back. Hmmm. My sister’s lawyer said something about a “family clause” in these things, but I don’t give a fuck. I’d rather just have it out with the serfs than live among them.
Also, my “unofficial” approach does have its benefits. No matter how “rational” “cool” and “professional” these types try to be, they are still — somewhat — human. They do not like real confrontation anymore than “we free spirits” do. I assume most of the folks they deal with don’t challenge them outright, or their day-to-day “jobs” would be hell. Hence, somewhat rattled, she FUCKED UP. She took out the “official sheet” which said my sister was supposed to vacate by November 3, pending a new lease — which she did receive anyway, but as I said, fuck all that.
My first thought was, “well, thanks for the heads up. Now I know I have at least three weeks to leave and be a most unpleasant tenant.”
THEN it occurred to me. How do they know I’m a “tenant” at all? How do they know I’m not just staying for a few weeks as my sister’s guest before she vacates on November 3rd?
So if I’m cool to split by November 3 — which I am — Ms. BSG fucked up royally.
So, I’m just a guest, and they were VERY rude to me.
They were, in fact, STUPID.