Page Ten


in the interest of further procrastination before returning to the subject of landlords, I’ve decided it’s time for a little turners beauty. this beauty emanates, always, from water and sky, animals and plants, snow, ice and mist. never, for me, from the humans.

the center of turners is full of cherry trees that give us flowers in white and three different shades of pink. on mayday, the buds weren’t even open yet. two days later, they were in full bloom. today, the eighth, the petals are beginning to snow down onto the sidewalks. they are sadly few, the days of the cherry trees in their full spate of color. I’ve walked already this morning on some pink sidewalk snow, donated to me by cherry trees.

and I wonder, as I have wondered while I’ve watched it snow over the river water, as I’ve watched the swans swimming and even, on rare dark winter nights, heard them make their odd sounds at me, and in countless other moments of wonder in the natural aspects of this town, how on earth the humans here can live among these beauties and be so ugly. ugly outside, most of them, and ugly inside. as unappealing to look at, most of them, as they are to listen to. I still fail to grasp, after all these years, how creatures living in a bowl of beauty cannot be moved to beauty themselves. not be moved  to dress in the colors of swans, canadian geese, cherry trees, pine trees, water and ice. cannot be moved to kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, truthfulness, a striving towards greater personal beauty in the presence of so much of the natural kind. I still cannot fathom how these creatures can walk along the river bank during a blazing pink and orange sunset, and never once look up at the sky. or walk past twenty swans without ever turning their heads towards them. and yet that’s exactly what most of them do: walk along oblivious to it all. they yak at each other, or on their cell phones, play with their hair, whatever, apparently totally unmoved and unchanged by the beauty they are breathing in.

am I just much more contemplative than these carbon-based units around me? am I more deeply moved by beauty than they are? certainly possible. or perhaps it all comes back around to theory of mind. to the fact that I, as an autistic person, make the assumption and have the need that other people’s minds should work more or less the way mine does. and even though I’ve learned in the last ten years, in both reading about asperger’s and learning that I have it, that this assumption is a huge error, that this need will never be met, I still cannot emotionally conquer the shock. that shock that always grips me when I am slapped in the face by the way some other person’s mind does work, and find it incomprehensible. ask the question: why would anyone’s mind want to work that way?

try, try, as I’ve been trying these last ten autism-enlightened years, I can’t stop feeling the shock, the dismay, the bafflement at the way neurotypicals seem to operate inside. I can’t watch two pink cherry blossom petals drift on the air from their tree down to the unforgiving hardness of the sidewalk and grasp why it is that I am the only person standing, staring at this graceful, ephemeral, beautiful, and rather sad event . I just can’t wrap my asperger’s head around it.


read…  scealta liatha (poetry)…    lifelines

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Page Nine


way back in the 1990’s, back in the twentieth century, when I made my first notes for this book, there were very few notes that dealt with landlords. it was not my intention then, or even two years ago, when I finally started writing this wee book, that I would be writing about sneaky, untruthful, amoral landlords…  until I die?

but before I proceed with the latest land-baron ulcers, let me speak for a little moment about snowflake trees, a.k.a. meadow rue. went to the canal last week and dug up two babies to plant in my garden. one has given up the ghost (this is usual. snowflake trees don’t seem to like transplanting). but the other appears to be well so far. cross your fingers for her.

to procrastinate even more before getting back to what’s supposed to be my subject for this page, I’ll say a few words about the page before this one, that is, page eight. page eight made an appearance at the trial against last year’s landlords, which trial was held on 26 april. landlady of the holy persuasion tried to have page eight admitted as evidence, but it didn’t work. one of the things she wanted to prove about me with page eight was that I have an animus against landlords. I did her one better. I admitted to an animus against all the denizens of turners trolls, not just the landlords. and just between you, me and the fencepost, in light of the things landlords in this town have put me through over 28 or so years, why wouldn’t I… or anyone else… have an animus against them?

there are scads of people who’ve been put through the ringer by landlords in this town, but they haven’t had the money for lawyers to fight for them. I never have either, until now. I’ve watched for nearly three decades as the morally bankrupt who own property here treat many tenants like second-class citizens, or worse. when you rent to low-income people who have few avenues of defense, you can get away with murder. and they often do.

that is not to say that there aren’t some pretty horrible tenants too. there are indeed. but most tenants don’t sink to that kind of extreme. many of the tenants that landlords whine about are fairly poor, living very difficult lives compared to those of their materially comfortable landlords. a lot of the tenants in this town drive me right up the wall and out the window, but most of those are not doing anything they deserve to be evicted for, or harassed, or for which they should go without important repairs to their apartments.

well now my neck hurts. will have to postpone the latest landlord lamentations for another time.


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Page Eight

An apartment eventually was found, but yet again, something that should be a fairly straightforward, fairly manageable activity, turned, for me, in this bog, into an ongoing producer of illness of body and deep distress of soul.

I was told on 17 September last year that I could have a certain apartment for December 1, since the current occupant had given notice that they would be out by November 1. Straightforward, right? Bloody not.

Due to an apparently yearly mismanagement of funds, our Section 8 program had run out of money and frozen my housing voucher on September 7, but I did not yet know that on September 17. Devastation number one.

The tenant who gave notice for November first did not, in fact, leave. An eviction, which is a slow and arduous process, had to be started. All my dreams for being out of the ponystall and into a real apartment for Christmas… a Christmas when my daughter was driving 1400 miles to spend it with me… immediately got sucked down the toilet hole with a loud, stinky and prolonged gurgle. Devastation number two.

Devastation number three was happening piecemeal in the background of the other two. New landlord speaking and behaving in radically contradictory ways. Inconsistency and potential instability frightening me almost daily. Panic attacks, Aspie meltdowns, and severe, can’t-go-out-of-the-house depressions were commonplace from November first until… well, until the present moment as I sit here tapping at these keys.

I use the word devastation not lightly. When a person has been enduring the things that I have for four years, every hurdle thrown up between you and a real apartment again is, in fact, devastating…  at least to me.

And on with the toxicity. No doubt you will refuse to believe that after 27 years, I am still being treated this way. You’ll say I’m exaggerating. Maybe you’ll even say I made it up. Baloney.

On February first I at last moved into my first real apartment in four years. The first since the personal holocaust of 2008.  The one the heroin addicts took so long vacating. After two years of homelessness and two years of living in an inhumane ponystall, finally a real apartment. And finally a little family: one guinea pig, two parakeets, one cat.

And then what. Even before I moved in, the landlady and her spouse, who had presented themselves to me as good christians who try to live the way jesus wants them to, had started to act chilly. So chilly, that I concluded they had decided not to rent me the apartment after all, and was looking for something else. So I was shocked when the landlady notified me three days after christmas that the heroin addicts had finally left, and that the unit was being cleaned. There were a few days of communication and paper-signing, and then silence from december 30th onward. Suddenly on 26 january she contacts me — after all this silence when I once again decided I wasn’t going to get the apartment — to say the apartment was ready and was I still interested. The next day I got the keys and began moving in, but this coldness that had been going on since december persisted.

I move in. I live with the coldness. I live with her failure to provide me trash stickers, which is stipulated in the lease, and which is the state law. I live with the month and a half wait for her to lower my mailbox to a point where I can reach it. I live padlocked off my front porch, which she has been telling me since october that I can have, and that I can have flower boxes and bird feeders out there. The lies about the porch go on and on. The trash stickers are sporadic. I wait three bloody months for a key to my second door. Tensions escalate. Lies continue to be told. Since I am a rent subsidy client, I try to enlist the Housing Authority’s help with these issues. They are next to useless until late May, when they start to be useful occasionally.

Meanwhile, I am the goody-two-shoes tenant. Rent is always paid. I obey the anal landlady’s rules about trash not being on back decks, about smoking outside, and about the number and kind of animals I may have. I do not torment the other tenants upstairs or interfere with them in any way. I meet all of my obligations as stated on the rental agreement, and the landlady meets none. Finally I write a letter of complaint, which I give both to the Section 8 director at Housing and to the landlady herself. Four days later I get a notice to quit. Thrown out, after four and a half months. Thrown out, when the rent is always paid and I meet my lease obligations. This is christian. This is the way jesus wants her to live. And this is just like Lolly, the landlady presiding over my personal holocaust in 2008, who illegally evicted me over a letter of complaint that I wrote about the crime-chick’s harassment.

Yet again, my Asperger’s gullibility has caused me to fall for a line of bullshit (will this never stop? ). I believed in this woman’s desire to live by christian principles, in spite of all the phony, sleezy christians I have known. I believed I had a landlord who would treat me with respect, make prompt repairs, and abide by the obligations set out in the lease. What I got was a tantrum-throwing, lying, bullying shrew. And thrown out for writing a letter of complaint, which is a legal thing for a tenant in Massachusetts to do. The poison of this place is intractable.

Update…it’s now september. the trial is upcoming, and I am the defendant. but I have cross-complaints enough against this mentally haywired woman, as I did in 2008 against the other one. but in 2008, all free legal services turned me away because I didn’t have a rent subsidy, though I was poor enough to have one. I’d simply chosen not to have one. this time, however, I do have a subsidy and I am eligible for legal aid. but the legal aid budgets have been so chopped that while there will be a legal aid attorney hanging about in the court house on trial day, they will not guarantee that said attorney will choose to represent me at my trial.

I was growing more frightened by the day about what would happen to me and my new animals if I had to represent myself again, like last time. In late august, my daughter took a loan so that I could have a private attorney. she was hired last week, and she’s just my daughter’s age. she has taken it all off my hands. the relief. I won’t go into court alone. I won’t — lacking an attorney to advise me — sign a ridiculous agreement that helped lead to the destruction of my animals and my life last time. this time I just might hold accountable for her illegal and mean-spirited behavior a woman who, like the other one, is clearly in need of intense therapy. this time I just might win.


read…    The pygmies keep dancing…      Mugsy’s book…

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Page Seven

this most recent hunt for a real apartment (I’ve been without one since the illegal eviction in 2008) began in june in the current year of 2011, this most recent stomping I’ve received from yet another seriously unstable turners falls landlord. he’s a small man, and as so many small men suffer so much ego damage from being small, this could be one reason for his mincing and toxic psychological landscape. another reason could be that he was, I’ve been told, spawned and raised in this place. generationally and perhaps also genetically old-time turners ignorant and old-time turners nasty. did I mention duplicitous, like every other troll in turners? I’ll call him minnow slisky.

on July 5th, a woman who knows I’m looking to leave this ponystall and who also knows minnow, told me that he had a sudden vacancy in his building. on the 7th I went to the place where this woman works with her boyfriend to get minnow’s number. and here comes trick number one. instead of just giving me the number, boyfriend, while girlfriend and I are yakking, calls up minnow and tells him I’m right there, and in a little while, minnow shows up on his bicycle. I am ambushed, not yet ready to meet this man face-to-face. so why not just give me the number and let me proceed from there? no, no the three of them have to trick me into this surprise encounter, when I have already made it very clear to boyfriend and girlfriend that I want the first contact to be by phone. I’m not granted the respect these three people would give any other adult: to let the adult handle the situation in their own way. no, there must be an ambush because three ignorant and controlling denizens of turners falls decide that that is what they want. I must be treated like a child.

this encounter doesn’t go well on my part. I’m angry that I’ve been ambushed in this way, I speak rather sullenly, I do not make a socially acceptable good impression. it turns out that minnow is a very long-term fixture here, and I recognize his face as one that I’ve seen from time to time since 1985. but I’ve never known his name, or that he has rentals, until now. after minnow swims away on his bike, girlfriend says sarcastically, well that went well. it most certainly did not, and she knows it.

I pass minnow’s phone number and some other information on to the social worker who is supposed to be spearheading this apartment search, and then try to put the apartment out of my mind. because the ambush did not go well.

on July 10, a mere three days later, I see minnow again, swimming down the sidewalk on his bicycle again. he is distinctly chilly, keeping his face pointed groundward in a hard sternness, saying morning to me in a rather sarcastic tone. I say to myself, that’s that. he doesn’t want to rent to me.

it should have ended right there, after wasting only five days wondering if I would get this real apartment and be freed at last from the ponystall. but no. despite the fact that he seemed not to be at all interested in having me as a tenant, minnow apparently needed for his own disturbed reasons to prolong both the drama and the discomfort for me. I kept in touch with social worker, but for a week there was no word from minnow.

on saturday the 16th, all out of the blue, there’s an email from social worker saying that minnow is showing her the apartment on monday the 18th. they have set this up completely without consulting me as to whether or not monday at ten is a good time for me. again I don’t matter. again I don’t get the courtesy or respect they would grant any other adult. nope, he is showing her the apartment, and if little old tenth-grader me wants to tag along, well fine.

I tag along. there is a lot wrong with the apartment. it’s clear he hasn’t put a nickle into it in decades. it’s very dark, with few windows. the stove and tub I’m certain must be official antiques by now. the linoleum is ugly and dark. there is virtually no counter in the kitchen. there’s no porch. all of my apartments in turners have had porches, and I long to have a porch again. no porch. no yard. yes, there’s a postage stamp of grass out back that one of the other tenants has already commandeered for herself and her grandchildren (this female is one of those long-term turners falls hunts, a substitute I employ for a different word).

I tell social worker to proceed trying to get this place. it is depressing in the extreme because of all its negatives, but I have been in this claustrophobia pit that the government tossed me for sixteen months and I want out. I want space to move around in. the ponystall is actually quite light and pretty, but a stall is a stall and a cell is a cell and I do, in fact, have claustrophobia. it’s not just some sardonic thing that I toss out. I also want a dog and a cat. if this landlord, despite his oddness and the drawbacks of the apartment, will allow me a small family, then I will go there. having a family to ease some of my extreme isolation is more important to me than any feature in any apartment.

I go to the library to use high-speed internet for a while on friday 22 july. who’s sitting at the computer beside mine — minnow himself. he tells me he’s received my social worker’s message that I’m interested in the apartment, and he asks me for her email address. I give it to him. on monday 25th, only three days later, I go to the library again and there he is. gives me a big smile and says hi anne and says he’ll accept me as a tenant, and that he is filling out the landlord paperwork for the housing authority. I tell him they will need to inspect the apartment before I can move in, but he knows this. he’s had rent subsidy tenants before.

three days later, July 28, I get an email from him. I’m nonplussed by this, because I have never given him my email address. I realize the only person who could have done so is my social worker, whom I’ve already asked not to give out personal contact information for me without my consent. she did it anyway. she says he wrote to her on the 28th saying he was renting the apartment to someone else, and she didn’t want to give me the bad news (what grown-ups these social workers are; but that’s a different book). it’s been a week since then. social worker has apologized numerous times for giving him that info, and I think she truly is sorry and realizes she made a big mistake, because now this loon won’t leave me alone.

on august 1 I get an email from him saying that the “other people” (who never existed, by the way. who were a complete fabrication. I went by the apartment often between 28 July and 1 August: no one was moving in) changed their minds and the apartment was still available. I write back to him that I need his answer regarding pets before I can proceed, and I ask him to write his response to my social worker, not to me. 

there’s a response next day, sent to both my worker and to me, despite my request that he communicate with her. he wants a doctor’s letter regarding a psychological need for the pets. we have already shown him such a letter on the day we viewed the apartment. he didn’t even keep it, but tossed it back into the worker’s folder after he read it. I don’t see this august 2 response until august 5th, as I am boycotting my email account for fear of more crap from a person who should not even have my address in the first place. august 5th is today.

this morning I read his response, and what he was trying to say wasn’t clearly expressed (he can’t spell, either). he wanted a different letter about the animals, but I wasn’t sure if he meant one letter covering dog, cat, guinea pig and birds, or one letter for each. I asked him to clarify, and again asked him to reply to my social worker. 

this afternoon I decided to go to the library for the high-speed again, and I deliberately went for 2:00. the other times I’ve seen minnow there, he’s been done by 2:00. but at 2:30 he swims in, swims by me and says Hi Anne, but this time I can see distortion and nastiness in his face fighting for supremacy over his phony cheerful expression. he wrote me an email at 2:36, as soon as he sat down at the computer, but I didn’t find it until I got home. he continues to write me emails, despite the fact that I’ve twice asked him to stop. he tells me in this email that he wants one letter for each pet.

this is what I write back to him: mr. slisky… I don’t believe you wish to rent to me. this up and down, yes and no treatment has been going on for a month. if  this is indicative of how I would be treated as a tenant, this constant silliness, then I do not wish to walk into such a situation. please dispose of my email address and cease using it.

after that, I wrote to my social worker. I told her what action I wish to take if this very small, demented fish doesn’t stop writing to me, and that I’d like her to take that action with me. we’ll see what he does.

any of you who read these posts and refuse to believe that the trolls of this town are as toxic as I say they are, you are practicing denial. all I did was look for an apartment where I could have a rent subsidy and a few pets. all he had to say was No, at the beginning, if he didn’t want to deal with pets and with housing authority rules and with me. but his choice was to dance me around for a month, jerk my chain, lie, etc. meanwhile I’ve heard from five different people who know him the following things: several buildings he once owned have been taken away from him. he doesn’t make repairs. he has a bad reputation both with tenants and with the housing authority. and he’s another stinking, sneaking, lying christian, active in one of this burg’s churches. spare me the bloody sick christians.

all I was doing was looking for a place, and what do I reel in? yet another disturbed, sneaky turners falls troll, dressed in a minnow suit. yet another. it’s twenty-six years this month since I first came here. in all that time I’ve had only two landlords whom I would term sane. I’m not talking about nice landlords, or conscientious ones, or landlords who treat their tenants like human beings — maybe landlords like that don’t even exist. I’m just talking about sane.


update:  … today is august 27. three weeks since I wrote this post. three weeks since I went to the email account where minnow slisky was writing to me. haven’t been able to face going in there since that day. to deal with the anger if there should be a new email from him. so today I went back to that account. little christian, deacon minnow slisky, swimming along on his bike and doing the god-thing on sundays, is nasty and dishonorable and a scuzz. I wonder how that fits with his churchy teachings. he has hacked into my email account and deleted every single message he ever sent me. from that account, he can read all my incoming and outgoing messages, and he can find out about every website I use. and if any reader wants to dispute with me the fact that this turners trolls “christian” minnow isn’t a garden variety piece of toxic filth, you would have no luck making a case for that with me. one of his church friends told me that he might not know how to hack himself, but he surely has some friends that can.

further Update:  …about a month after he (or one of his friends) hacked into my account to remove his messages to me, I found them back in my inbox again, accompanied by incoming forwarding arrows that they hadn’t possessed before. this happened no doubt because I’d told one of his churchy friends to tell him that if he didn’t stop emailing me, I’d print them out and take them to the police. then I told her he’d made them disappear, so later he forwards them back. all this mental mayhem because I wanted to rent a lousy apartment.


read…    Scealta liatha  Lucked out

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Page Six

After five pages of human poison, it’s high time for some snowflake trees.

In 1991 I at last stopped fighting my body and decided to pursue a disability claim more diligently than I’d done before. I didn’t want to be disabled, to admit that I was defeated as a wage-earner. Since the fall of 1986 I had doggedly kept trying: part-time school and part-time work. Every time it was the same: after about six months I’d be so ill that chronic absenteeism set in,  and falling way behind in my university work, housework, everything. Pretty much constant exhaustion and pain. I took care of my animals, slowly, over the course of a day, but I wasn’t capable of much else. In December of 1991 I gave in and started a new claim with Social Security.

Two months later we moved from one relatively ugly neighborhood (both aesthetically and in terms of the humans), to one that was much prettier, seemed peaceful, and planted within me the silly notion that the neighbors in such a milieu would be better than the ones we were leaving behind. For the first time in ten years, I had time with a capital T. I couldn’t accomplish much in all those free, ungoverned hours, not the way a healthy person could, but there the hours were. I had time to wander around with my cats again, and my mother started me doing flower beds for the first time in my life. In an eye-blink I became a die-hard gardener, and remained so until summer 2006.


And it turned out that we had moved right beside the canal, which I didn’t even know until my daughter found it and took me there. Though we were very close to the water, some woods and another road and the drop in ground level between the road and the water resulted in the fact that, as close as we were, we couldn’t see the water from the street. The canal became our wandering place.

During these strolls I examined every growing thing, pulling up many samples by the roots to see if they would survive in my new flower beds. One of my discoveries was the tall plant whose common name is meadow rue, but I had no idea of this. I’d never met this plant before, found it lovely, and gave it my own name: snowflake trees. It has small leaves with three scallop-like shapings on the ends, and tiny flowers formed from multiple needle-shaped petals. These flowers remind me of both snowflakes and twinkling stars. And I did, after many attempts, get two of them to survive in my yard. It would be several years before I learned the snowflake tree’s accepted name.

Since coming to live in Turners Fails for the first time in 1985, I had been aware at the edges of my consciousness that the natural realm of the town was full of beauty. Busy and sick and a single parent, I hadn’t been able to really scrutinize that beauty in the way I wanted to until I gave up fighting my illnesses so stubbornly. Now, in this new nieghborhood, in this new abundance of time, I was being constantly awestruck, and that’s not too precious a word for it: water and plants, rocks and animals, sky and mists affect me that profoundly. More than once as I lollygagged on the canal with my cats, I wondered how people who lived right smack in the middle of so much charm and wonder and sheer prettiness could be so moldy and ugly inside themselves; so petty, sneaky and deceitful. I’m still wondering that to this day, nineteen years past my first walk on the canal.


read…   Lifelines…      All my stars

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