Sunday, August 14, 2016

When bad things happen to good people

I looked at my most recent paycheck last week to see how it was adversely effected by the first time deduction of my share of the company medical insurance premiums. What it told me is that I’m back down to the state minimum wage. Of course, I could be making no money at all, but it is still tough for even an “able-bodied single male” to live adequately on, let alone get any sympathy for in this “victim” obsessed society where bad people are sometimes treated as “innocents” by the media and self-righteous mobs who don’t want to face the truth of dysfunctional mores in their own communities. 

I don’t consider myself a “good” person in the sense that I’m much good to anyone, although I try not to make anyone else’s life suffer because of it. I’d rather just mind my own business, and if others do the same, that’s just fine with me. So it was just this morning that I was walking down a Kent sidewalk when I spotted ahead of me a red vehicle parked along a curb. Upon closer inspection I realized that it was a person waiting for me; it was someone who had been friendly and helpful to me in the past, named Sunny. I had some things I wanted to do this Sunday before the workweek started, and I figured she just wanted to say hello or offer me a ride. 

This would not be the case. Sunny was obviously in a somewhat agitated state; she told me that she was so thankful that she had encountered me unexpectedly, because she was looking for someone to help with some moving. I hummed and hawed a bit, especially when she told me it would likely take into the late afternoon. But I relented when I realized she was desperate, and got into the vehicle. She told me that she was on her way to the Home Depot in Tukwila, where there might be some day laborers hanging around; but she really didn’t want to bring one of those guys with her, especially since they might not be able to do something else, like what having a driver’s license would require. Sunny asked me if I could drive a moving truck to transport some of her household items to a storage facility; I had been in the Army, and surely I had “experience” with driving heavy machinery. Well, I, um, yeah (not really). 

Anyways, I learned that last Tuesday Sunny had received a call from “Mike,” from whom she was renting a house in Lakewood (near Fort Lewis). She had been looking for a home for herself and her two underage children after she lost her previous home to foreclosure due to the loss of income after the sudden passing of her husband; a “friend” helped her get a “deal” with this “Mike.” The problem was that he was just one of those guys who watched an infomercial by some charlatan promising a get-rich-quick scheme in the real estate business. “Mike” watched the DVD, and set about buying cheap homes in the hope of making a killing renting them out to people who didn’t read the “fine print.” Sunny is of Mexican heritage, and I have little doubt what this charlatan felt “entitled” to cheat her.

“Mike” informed Sunny this past Tuesday that he was losing money on the amount of rent she was currently paying, and he was demanding a 50 percent increase immediately, and if she wasn’t agreeable to paying it, he wanted her out of the house the next day. She had never missed a rent payment, and the amount she was paying now seemed to be more in line with a lakeside condo in Seattle. After some “discussion” based on the fact that her last rent payment was good through tomorrow, this demand was delayed briefly. Naturally, Sunny was shocked by this sudden turn to misfortune; she was a responsible citizen, had been a public school teacher for 14 years here, but had become disenchanted with the “kids” she had to deal with. This didn’t surprise me; she was generally of serene nature who just wanted to get along with people, a sometimes not easy task given the “expectation” instilled in some kids that they can disrespect any civilized standard. Since the passing of her husband of an apparent heart attack at a relatively young age, she had been driving from Lakewood to Kent every day to keep food on the table and a roof over the heads of her children. 

Sunny hasn’t received much help from the so-called “friend” who set her up with this “Mike” fellow; she has refused to return her calls. I suspect that this “friend” was in on the scam the whole time. And a scam it was. Sunny had to pay a $5,000 deposit just to move in a “house” which upon personal inspection didn’t have the floor space of a typical two-bedroom apartment. Sunny believed that the deposit was her money, not his, and that if he refused to allow her to use for the next rent payment, she should get it all back. This is where the real scam came in: if she did not pay the new rent payment by Monday, he would keep the entire $5,000. Sunny didn’t believe this, and paid a lawyer to look over the contract she had signed to see if there was any opportunity for redress. The lawyer basically laughed at her for allowing herself to be cheated by this thief, and did her own thieving by taking Sunny’s money after she claimed there was nothing she could do.

I was glad that I had given in to my better instincts, helping to ease her mind just a little bit by helping to move her more needful property to storage. She had secured some temporary housing for herself and her two children from what a suppose was a real friend, but from there who knows. This whole episode made me quite angry how people could take advantage of someone as good and decent as Sunny. What makes me even angrier is that assholes like Donald Trump and his Nazi supporters want us to disacknowledge that there are people like this being defrauded and cheated by “real Americans” every day, and say it is their “right.” Come to think of it, we are guaranteed to have a bad person elected president this November.

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