Request for Mediation
Dated 2013-07-30, I filed a “Request for Mediation” from the Rent Stabilization Board in Berkeley, California. The last person we rented a cottage from, they were suffering from the grief of loss, and made rash decisions that made us feel unsafe. We were not able to reconcile with them, and it became apparent they didn’t want a new family living there (Clover was born when we lived there).
I have this request next to the “Month-to-Month Lease Agreement” for that place, dated 2010-04-21. That means I lived in that place for 3 years. That is very significant, but won’t be apparent until at least one of these banker boxes are empty.
Concurrent to that is an “Independent Contractor Agreement” between Impact Hub Oakland and myself, dated 2013-08-15. It was to set up their website, but expanded into other domains, here and there. The significance of this will also be revealed, but the important thing to note is: I had to leave my home with the quickness, and landed in Oakland fully committed to this community.
Grief is certainly a wrench
There were other reasons our living condition deteriorated in that place, among the things is that the couple that lived in the house just hadn’t planned on having a baby on the grounds (we lived in a tiny cottage in the backyard, a so-called “In-law Cottage”). At one point they said I didn’t make time to be social with them; I countered we had spent the last three years pregnant/with a newborn. It wasn’t going to work out at any rate.
But we would have simmered for probably another six months if not for that person losing someone important in their life. I emailed a question about the wifi; it was part of our rent but it was frequently down, and being unable to purchase my own connection, it was essential for my work. In a moment of grief that person invaded our living space and made us feel unsafe. When I moved them to outside they continued to yell at me.
For a long time I feel like I had failed that relationship. I felt I was the catalyst for their suffering, but had no time to process those feelings because I had to find a new place to live for my family! It was all very stressful, months of willing myself to go to sleep so I didn’t die from exhaustion trying to help my family… and mostly failing to sleep after all.
Now I think that person, who was also very young at the time, was just in way over their head. They saw themselves as a leader in their group of friends, and their personal and professional lives were really stressing them out; add grief to that and that person was obviously going to pop, the only question is: upon whom?
@maiki is a traditional “easy target” for such emotional pops. Fascinating.
Go to the community you want to be in
I was quite busy when Clover was born, and for the first time I got five digits in my bank account. And after talking to Susan I decided to invest $10,000 dollars in a kick-starter campaign of all things!
That support was the tipping point in that campaign, and that was how Impact Hub Oakland was able to fund it’s opening. It was created and run by woman, most women of color. They wanted to tap into Oakland’s rich history of social justice to ensure that Silicon Valley technology wasn’t used as yet another platform of oppression, and I loved everything about it.
Not only did I work with them in an operational and technology support capacity, I met with an interesting cross-section of dreamers and schemers, some of whom opened some truly strange and interesting doors, for which I am immensely grateful. It was an education.
- The relationship between renters and owners is inherently adversarial
- When everyone around you is hustling: hustle or get out of the game
- In any given encounter, it may be prudent to step out of the timeframe and look at it from the future, especially if humans and their fragile hearts are involved