Force Over Distance

2020 keeps fucking delivering. Last month, I called my landlord to renew my lease. It was then that he let me know, sotto voce, they’re only doing month-to-month from now on, and the reason is because the private owner of this 44-unit complex has been in a year-long contract for sale to a corporate owner, and the deal was set to close soon.

The corporation is a developer.

This will be the first time in my life that I’ll be evicted because my home is getting demolished. But I’ve gotten used to places I’ve lived no longer existing.

The sale is still held up in city hall, with the zoning changes and site plans still under approval. COVID19 isn’t making it any faster. The hint I’m getting from the landlord is that we have until October 31 to get out, but nobody’s said anything solid yet.

The only official word of anything is a note pinned to every door last weekend:

[redacted] Apartments is under contract and being sold to a new owner. We are in the process of getting information regarding the new owners intentions for management, but it is our understanding that there will be a 30 day notice of nonrenewal given at the end of September (the anticipated close), for an October 31 move out. We wanted to notify our residents in advance.

So, as if this year isn’t debasing and unbalanced and chaotic enough, I’m getting the carpet literally ripped out from under me.

Possibilities:

  • The sale fails because the plans don’t get approved before contract deadline, meaning the current owner has to regroup and write leases with current tenants and scramble to fill the units that’ve been empty for months.
  • The sale succeeds, but the new owner wants to maintain the property as a multi-family apartment dwelling, meaning they will write leases with current tenants and scramble to fill the empty units. The leases will be at grossly inflated rates for profit, and some tenants will me moved around so they can remodel (which affects me, because mine missed the remodels years ago).
  • The sale succeeds, and the new owner is a developer, so they evict all of us and demolish this property, the empty restaurant behind us, and the appliance repair shop next door, and combine all three lots into one so they can dig a hole and build a 5-story mixed-use midrise.

With so much in the air, I’ve decided the only sure solution is to move.

I’ve been here nine years. It has taken me being in quarantine the past 5 months to finally make it feel like my home and not a closet where I stash my stuff while I’m out and about. I never quite fully took advantage of the place, never had people over, never threw wine and cheese parties, never got my balcony set up for hanging out, and didn’t quite make full use of the antennas that I’ve hesitantly hung in the tree outside.

I’m looking around nearby neighborhoods for a new apartment, and have set a ceiling on what I’m willing to pay. Aside from the 5-story mixed-use midrise already next door (the reason why the tax on this property tripled in 3 years after it was built), I think I’m paying only slightly below market value for the square footage. So there’s some wiggle room.

Life comes at me fast, and I’m doing my best to hold it together. It’s a lot of work.

Dream Down

Dreams are bullshit and mean nothing, generally. But sometimes they can be used to reveal where your head’s at.

Here’s where my head’s at:

  • I’m hanging out with a lot of people, out in the world. Finally, there’s society. We’re talking, having fun. Sun’s out and everything’s green and warm. Blue sky day. This girl and I are actually hitting it off: flirting, poking, laughing, working toward something good. And then it’s interrupted when we watch a plane crash into the blind school three blocks away. It’s the second crash there in as many days.
  • I have a nice, large apartment, lots of windows, ready to move in. Then it starts raining into every window because they’re all open. The floor gets soaked until I can close them all. I clean up and leave the apartment into a restaurant, back of house, where people I know as friends are waiting on diners. Masks everywhere. I can’t find my way back home.
  • Then I go downstairs, remember I’ve moved to Paris, France. Everything’s wonderful; I’m well-traveled and finally living abroad. Somehow, I know Français. I cross the street to head to the market, and everything around me transforms into the decayed ruins one sees in urban exploration videos. I’m now on the destroyed edge of town doing parkour across the detritus while trying to evade sécurité.

Generally, my most intense dreams center around the stuff I’ve been mentally working through or things I experienced during the previous day. The concerns most front-and-center in my mind echo loudly among the random firings of my neurons during REM sleep; the resulting dreams are my best interpretation of the chaos. Usually they evaporate in the morning sun like SF Bay fog, but these three vignettes have hung on me all day like condensed sweat, fouling any sense of sanctity.

So yeah. That’s where my head’s at. These dreams mean nothing other than to highlight my lack of hope in the future. Things can be great and happy, then it can all collapse and decay and molder in the blink of an eye due to uncontrollable outside forces.

These are heavy times. Take care of each other out there, and check in on yourself once in a while. We have to keep going, just in case there actually is a future worth hoping for. We’ll come back home.

Fat Photo Rolls

Noticed my Google Drive utilization is now over 50GB out of 100GB (I’m paying for the lowest tier of extra storage). With the 2019 Google Photos decouple from Drive, I needed to test if files deleted from Drive would affect files in Photos. The answer is No. Drive and Photos, as services, are now totally separate in the storage. Any photo existing in Drive during the split would be copied into Photos. So delete anything in the Google Photos folder in Drive and you should be fine (although, being a paranoid bastard, I’m going file-by-file to make goddamn sure).

Sooo…I’ve deleted most of the files from my Google Photos folder in Drive, well over 25GB worth, and my disk quota utilization only dropped from 51.2GB to 49GB, which tells me one thing: when Google split the storage and decoupled Photos from Drive (a thoroughly confusing move, but that’s f’n Alphabet for you), instead of making duplicates and counting each copy against my quota, they just made hardlinks. Meaning the same file can exist in both systems and count only once, since they both access the same file storage backend.

It’s a smart engineering move, but now it means I really am taking up 49GB of quota. Time to delete some nonsense.

But don’t worry: my photo workflow is to use scripts to copy the files directly off of my cameras onto my personal workstation storage, and I make backups. So I still have a copy of every photo, video, and screencap I’ve shot in the past several decades. S’fine. I’m a data-retention fetishist, you see. Apparently I get off on it.

Neowise

I never saw the twin-tailed comet Neowise.
I never let its dim rays flicker into my dim vision.
I will now have to wait 6,700 years.

I could never escape the light of the city.
I could never escape the quarantine apartment.
I could never escape the articles hinting where to look if I would only look at their ads.

I could never escape the contents of my buzzing glass.
I could never escape the videos in my browser tab.
I could never escape the gravity of my evening chair.

I could never escape the hopeless news cycle.
I could never escape the habitual doomscrolling.
I could never escape the swallowed rage at inept inaction.

Now, that ball of ice and ash casts itself homeward to the Oort cloud,
Observing the laws of Kepler and Copernicus and Newton,
Blind to our decline by the laws of escalation and aggression and averages.

When Neowise returns to our Solar neighborhood,
Those who will give it a new name will not remember us;
They will not know of our breathless struggles.

By then, there is only new wisdom and forgotten tragedy.
All above is ice and ash, never escaping,
Orbiting into eternity.