Monday, October 02, 2006

Hell is where I live

Since I know I am moving soon, this place is getting to me more than ever. It's heavy and dark and noisy all the time. I am going to use this space to complain, so if you don't want to hear what it's really like, please skip this post.

Last night, after a weekend of depression, I was watching American Idol Rewind (some special they had) when suddenly I hear a loud siren from the intercom they'd just installed in every apartment. It sounded like a car alarm at first, then a LOUD voice screaming "Attention! Attention! ATTENTION!!!! A fire has been reported in the building! Go to the nearest exit immediately. Do not use the elevators!!!" It repeated for about 30 minutes. I can't tell you how loud it was, but I turned the TV up as high as it could go to try and drown it out. No, I did not rush to the outdoor stairway. I knew it was a false alarm like it always is, so I tried to finish watching the show. The whole atmosphere in my apartment was as loud as a war zone, I swear. I felt sorry for Angel, who I know was asleep at the time. Nobody could sleep through that.

So finally it stopped, and I tried to drift off to sleep. I had the strangest dreams, and then I'd wake up, then more strange dreams and more waking up. It was a long night. Finally, just before dawn, my chance for sleeping was shot due to the constant noises outside.

I had a friend stay over one night with her daughter, and I'll never forget the look on their faces when they were woken up by the same morning noises. They looked shocked and they said, "Wow, this is LOUD! How can you live like this?" I hardly noticed the noises before, but now they are really getting to me. Major, endless construction, metal banging against metal, traffic on I-75 (a block away), horns honking, sirens blaring, people yelling, gunshots or something equally disturbing. It just goes on and on without a break. I honestly don't know how I've lasted here this long.

So there was nothing to do but get up and get ready to catch the infamous Kroger bus. That was the last thing I wanted to do. My energy level is incredibly low, and those shopping trips are stressful and hectic.

So I decide to get myself in gear amidst the noises in the hallway. The maintenance people were beginning their day on my floor. They contribute to the morning noises by banging their carts and mops and ramming on doors. I get paranoid that my door will be next, and who knows what they want! It's something different every time.

This place is so institutional, I feel like I am back at Topeka State Hospital. People here either die or are dying of AIDS, alcoholism, old age, heart attacks, etc. There's a white board downstairs that announces the latest death. Someone new every week. This morning it was a lady named Rosa who I was friends with. We weren't best friends or anything, but she was always so sweet to me. Last week it was a guy named Terry who I used to have wonderful talks with about nutrition and herbal teas and his days of homelessness. He was also an avid reader and wrote a few Sci-Fi books. He died alone in his apartment, like they all do, and the only way anyone found out was because of the smell. That is typical.

Before I moved in, they had just gotten rid of the rat infestation. So now, 8 years later, the rats are back. I've seen two so far. And the roaches are so relentless, I spend tons of money on every product available to get rid of them. Nothing works for very long. Maybe a day.

And doing laundry is more than just a chore. There are 5 washers and 5 dryers for 250 people. Usually the washers are broke except for two, so there's a long line of people waiting their turn for the next available washer. It takes all day.

And the post office! I need a whole blog for that story! Oh wait -- I have one, lol! It's at titled "Morris Brown Post Office Discriminates." I battled with them for three years to change their policy about delivering to our doors when necessary. I thought it was settled, but they are once again refusing to deliver my medication from which requires a signature confirmation. I just don't have the energy to battle with them anymore.

The other residents here stopped caring long ago. They are resigned to their fate. It is incredibly sad. I get to leave but they are waiting to die. I am surrounded by wheelchairs, walkers, bingo, and other nursing-home activities. This truly is an institution. No privacy, either. The maintenance men use their master keys if you don't answer the door fast enough. It makes me paranoid just to take a shower.

Just going downstairs to take a walk is a hassle (even when the elevators ARE working). People are constantly stopping me in the halls, wanting money or cigarettes or whatever. Today I walked to BP, and was stopped on the way by a woman who lives here. She was drunk and crying about her daughter, who just had her purse stolen. When I finally got away from her, I heard loud screaming. I turned around, and it was the same woman screaming at her daughter who was trying to push her down. She was hitting her, too, and the screams faded the faster I walked away. Two cops just passed them by like nothing was happening. I had to do the same, feeling guilty and irritated because there was nothing I could do without getting punched myself.

It's a hopeless situation for everyone here, and they just live with it like I've been living with it for years. Most of the older people here grew up picking cotton and are now retiring in this hell hole, dirt poor, illiterate, and waiting to die.

So how did I end up here, and why have I stayed so long? Because I don't deserve better. That was drummed into my head since childhood. And I've been living up to those expectations. That's why this move is so significant for me. This move is a far cry from what I am used to. I don't deserve better than this, and in fact, this place is better than the last place I lived. So now I am having to work through a paradigm shift just to accept that I DO deserve better. And you know what? So does everyone else who lives here. But they were beaten down long ago, and that's how I feel at this moment.

I know this is temporary. I know I have hope. I'm just not feeling it right now. I'm confused and scared and depressed. I've always sabotaged success, and this time I can't sabotage a move upward. I just can't! I would die here.

Right now, there are the never-ending noises outside my window -- that endless construction -- and in the echoing hallways outside my door. Someone is yelling really loud. Who knows what it's about.

Okay, that's enough. The pity party is over. Angel is cooing softly.


Bob said...

WOW...Just keep your eyes on where your going. Glad to hear your escaping that environment. Hard to keep healthy there. When you write of this you share a world few will ever see. Love the pictures of Angel I presume. Our thoughts are with you.

Bob said...

WOW...Just keep your eyes on where your going. Glad to hear your escaping that environment. Hard to keep healthy there. When you write of this you share a world few will ever see. Love the pictures of Angel I presume. Our thoughts are with you.

robin said...

Not that you believe you do eserve better, I don't think you will sabotage anything!!!

I believe in you!



Anonymous said...

I love you, Jayme. Do you see now? When I was there in May 05, and I saw what you see now, it wasn't about you sweetie, it was about THEM. I was angry because I ALREADY KNEW you deserved better. How dare they take the doors off the closet of a Queen. :smile:


Jayme said...

Thank you Bob, Robin and Jodie! It's amazing how much better I felt after writing this post. I guess I just needed to get it out of my system so I could concentrate on other things. Jodie, I do realize that you saw back then what I see now. Timing is everything, and back then I was not in a position to move. I had to be blind to it all in order to survive. Now I am in a position to move, and now I need to shield myself from those internal messages that I don't deserve better. I know on a logical level that I do, but the child within is convinced otherwise.

Thanks to all of you who believe in me and are rooting for me. You mean sooooo much, and I love every one of you!

Anonymous said...

glad you've got a blog so you don't get clogged. keep sharing and venting and letting it all come out. you're not alone.