I removed the comments because as well-meaning as they were, I’m not looking for sympathy or even help, unless you have a spare million. You can always contact me through e-mail (Contact Beck) at the top of each page.
Many people, usually not from the city, have asked why I don’t leave here, or that the circumstances seem grim.
As far as grim circumstances go, I have been through grimmer times before I got here, so this place for all it’s idiocy has not really gotten me down. Well, at times. But think of all the writers and poets who have documented life and death situations.
True, they didn’t usually do it to a live audience, but wartime correspondents certainly did.
And why I can’t leave, at least not yet:
I’m broke. I have to be broke because I’m on medicaid. Medicaid takes any money I make over (I forget the exact number) but it’s around $800. I need medicaid to pay for several very expensive drugs I’m on.
My rent in the old apartment was $1200 a month. You can’t pay the rent, eat, and survive in NYC on $800.
So several things happened at once. My Crohn’s was completely controlled by one of the new biologics. I had two strokes, about a month apart. The first stroke wounded the nerves in my left leg, and the second (more minor) made my right arm weak.
My old therapy of taking pictures was a no go for many reasons, one being a tremor in my hands (which btw makes typing difficult). Anyway, writing is just as good, and I feel better after getting each chapter out, tho at this point I only have the slightest idea of where it’s going.
Every few days, someone that you were friendly with leaves, either in a black bag or to a nursing home. You only learn about it by rumor. There is an extensive underground grapevine and so long as you can listen and pass it on to someone trusted, you know who left and how.
For example, Lonnie left a few days ago to a nursing home. She was the butch cab driver with the foulest mouth I’ve ever heard who greeted me with something along the lines of: You poor bastard. What the fuck are you doing here?
I responded in kind and laughed. That’s just me. She was universally disliked or downright hated. She had a crude sense of humor. Her favorite line was something of an ode too cabbages. “She walks in beauty through the cabbages and peas.”
Slightly funny the first time. Twenty times in, not so much.
And Nan who had a sharp wit, was long gone. Where, somebody knew, but wasn’t telling. When I tried to get her phone number I was told Hippa (sorry about the spelling) wouldn’t allow it.
There are a few other assisted living places in Manhattan (on the west side) but they are worse. And there is one in the Bronx, owned by the Arch Diocese that is hell on earth. I know two people who transferred from there to here and consider this heaven.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a few friends here, mostly deaf, but open to a joke or a bit of good gossip. Yesterday, for example I heard that one of the best of the blue coats who had pulled me up from a chair I couldn’t get out of, who always had a sly sense of humor, was leaving after 4 years.
We think, at the end of this week. She will really be missed.
You have to understand, at one time this place really was a great place. But the guy who looked after it (a priest) had died, and his second in command had two heart attacks and left, and somehow the place was taken over, a few months before I arrived by a corporation that seems determined to turn a profit, whether it hurts the residents or not.
And as far as suggestions of taking pictures. There’s nothing to take pictures of except old sick and mostly crazy people. Not to mention that to publish any of this is to go up directly against the Catholic Church which I’m in no mood to take on.
And besides, wait til I tell you about Shawshank Residency before you feel sorry for me. But I appreciate the offers. Now I will continue as Beck.