Monday, May 28, 2012

When The Free Man's Mentality Clashes With Good Deeds

People, often including me, tend to think I am a bit unrealistic in my disdain for regulation and governmental oversight.

Today, I listened to various Memorial Day things on the car radio while watching a golden eagle soar against a clear, bright blue sky up on the Sunrise Highway. I could look down toward Pine Valley, and see peaks in all directions. I was at about 4000 feet and peaks in the distance at about 6000 feet. While taking in this bit of the American experience, I recalled how one of my best laid plans was rendered null and void by the usual suspects.

It was four years ago, almost to the day, that I first set foot in San Diego. Reviewing that adventure must have helped trigger the memory. That, and listening to various charity people on the radio discuss their wonderful efforts and how compassionate they are.

I'm not criticizing their work or who benefits. But the system is what it is, and no amount of self aggrandizement on the part of alleged non-profits can change that. I know it is impolite to say so.

When I lived in Memphis, I actually purchased a small condo in a high rise. It was on the tenth floor and had a little balcony that overlooked the parking lot and the wooded parks to the east. At that height one can see some distance. It is strange though how seeing only a few miles there seemed a big deal, whereas here I can see 8 or 9 miles from my deck. My friends in Point Loma can see the lights of Tijuana approximately 20 miles to the south.

Anyway, there were a couple of things which caused me to decide I could not live in the condo. I was experiencing a period of very heavy struggle with that pit which uncertainty, depression and isolation can facilitate. That 100 foot plus drop to the parking lot looked too inviting for comfort. Also, I thought the kind of living which involves gated parking lots, and elevators to reach home might be too confining, and could further my extreme tendency to isolate.

I elected to rent the place to others, while I continued to rent a place for me. Seems an odd arrangement, but I don't regret it. My rental was relatively dirt cheap and was in a good place, among trees, within walking distance of movies and stores.

The condo building was close to St Jude's Children's Hospital. I knew from various sources that people often need to stay for periods of time while their children undergo treatment for serious conditions.

I still remember, from my days working at the airport, the family who would fly in and out every now and then, who had a girl who was in late stages of cerebral palsy. I assumed that to be the condition. Her mother let me carry her onto the airplane and into her seat. She was light as a feather, maybe 14 or 15 years old.

I offered because the mom looked worn and exhausted, and I liked the girl. She knew what was up, and I could make her smile, almost laugh. Just one of those cases in which you feel love for someone without any reason. Something about her just glowed. And she obviously caught my irreverent humor and off the wall remarks.

I hatched a plan to rent my place cheaper than what hotels and such would cost, for months or weeks at a time, to families at the hospital. Not all of them qualify for the official charities' help but it is a real strain on them.

It wouldn't take very much for me to meet the dreaded condo association fees, insurance and that sort of thing. It would have been a win-win situation, and I know I would have really made it easy for people like my friends from the aiprort.

OH NO!!! You can't do that because the state and city and the hotel board consider such activity to be a hotel,, absolutely not. Don't even think about it.

Then the condo board started making rules that said if 50% of the units in the building were already rented out, then you could not rent your place. Two or three tycoons happened to own just about 50% of the units, which they rented.

I gave up the idea, and took it as a sign from Above that I needed to sell the place before I left Memphis for the great Western Unknown. Too much complication to hold onto it, rent it, and deal with ever changing regulations.

About the time my second renter moved in, they made a rule that they had to do some sort of background check on renters, and charge me a fee for it. Then they decided that if you had a renter, you had to pay a higher condo fee. Admittedly my renter looked a little shaggy, but I went on instinct and believed he'd pay up, and that he would make no trouble. In fact he was the type that would carry the old lady's groceries for her, voluntarily, so she didn't have to struggle with her wares and the elevator.

I think they resented someone not of the tycoon circle thinking his property rights were his to exercise as long as no harm or problems resulted. That is not how those places operate.

My renter paid on time every time. He'd had some hard times and was trying to get his life back in order. Most likely he'd not have satisfied the usual rental scrutiny, but he was probably a better tenant than the majority of those who do. If something needed work, he'd offer to help fix it or fix it himself.

Trying to quantify every aspect of human life in order to control it is proving over and over to be disastrous. Yet we ramp up the efforts in that direction. I am not sure of the proper, better paradigm, but I am sure it is worth attempting to shift the model. For one thing, it would help to employ more of the old school thing of deciding about a person face to face, rather than by feeding elements of resumes and reports into a computerized algorithm.

I happen to be suspect of the fact that due to our corrupt, ill conceived tax structure, that only officially approved charities count and are accepted. They become bureaucracies and corrupt, themselves. Or not. But it should not be so hard to do things individually without a bunch of hooplah. Of course you get no tax break, but the tax code is an ass, and shouldn't be such that you do or don't get a break.

At least the state of Tennessee and the City of Memphis were saved from a bootleg hotel competing for the business of people who have second mortgages, if that, so they can sink all they have into the costs of keeping up with a child going through cancer treatment and such in a distant town. I feel better knowing that all enterprises are so highly regulated. If government controls it, you know it is safe and good.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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