“People whom fate and their sin-mistakes have placed in a certain position, however false that position may be, form a view of life in general which makes their position seem good and admissible. . . . This surprises us when the persons concerned are thieves bragging about their dexterity, prostitutes vaunting their depravity, or murders boasting of their cruelty. But it surprises us only because the circle, the atmosphere, in which these people live, is limited, and chiefly because we are outside it. Can we not observe the same phenomenon when the rich boast of their wealth-robbery, when commanders of armies pride themselves on their victories-murder, and when those in high places vaunt their power-violence? That we do not see the perversion in the views of life held by these people, is only because the circle formed by them is larger and we ourselves belong to it.” (Resurrection, Leo Tolstoy, trans. Louise Maude)

New Readers:

Please start reading with my first post "A Cup of Coffee". Originally posted on March 19, the archival date changed when I made corrections on May 13, which is the date under which you can find it now.

I'll learn to manage this all more smoothly someday, but at present I have at most only an hour online each day (that thanks to the San Francisco Public Library system, without which I would be lost).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Some Context

At this point you are likely to wonder who I am. Whether to credit my opinions or believe in the accuracy of my reporting depends on your sense of my character. And because I have admitted right off the bat that I spent time in jail, you have your doubts.

On January 30, 2011, the fellow with whom I had lived for a couple of years, MRM, picked a fight with me, called 911, and, claiming that I had scratched the back of his neck, had me arrested on a domestic violence charge. He refused to press charges, and I was released at 1:00 am on the 31st. He had an automatic stay-away order as a result of the arrest, and so I was unable to go home. In the ten days that order lasted, he requested a permanent restraining order, which was granted temporarily pending a hearing.

Thus began a period during which I was homeless but kept my job at a small gift shop in the neighborhood where we lived.

I got my own restraining order against him, and at the eventual hearing a mutual stay-away order was issued. That was in March of 2012. I did everything I could to avoid him but he continued to harass me through early August, when he filed a false police report alleging that I had approached him in the park, hit him, and caused him to fall down and hurt his wrist. He reported this imaginary incident two weeks after he said it happened. Despite all the reports I had filed with the police detailing the hundreds of text messages and emails he had sent me, the stalking he had done both electronically and physically, and even the visit he had made to the shop where I worked, all of which were expressly forbidden by the mutual stay-away order, I was arrested at work on a misdemeanor battery charge for having supposedly hit him.

I spent ten days in jail, until my great and good friend, AB, who himself has no money and lives on Social Security Disability benefits, used his Visa card to pay the $1000 to bail me out. No greater friendship is there, and I shall praise him to the end of my days.

When I got out of jail, I learned that I had lost my job. The owner of the gift shop didn’t want the atmosphere of love, compassion, and joy she so carefully cultivates disturbed by my troubles. I don’t begrudge her that. But the fact that she tried to deny my unemployment benefits on the basis of my arrest being my fault angered me so that I wrote her a bitter email, which I cc’d to all her employees. Now I worry that the fact that I was not hired at Trader Joe’s after a thoroughly successful pair of interviews is the result of a negative response from this former employer. So much for the wisdom of expressing your anger.

And even though our society tells us to be proud Americans, proud gays and lesbians, proud African-Americans, proud this and proud that, I do my best to remind everyone that Pride is cardinal among the Seven Deadly Sins, that indeed Pride is the sin of Lucifer and of the rebellious angels who were cast out of Heaven with him, and that the wisdom of Proverbs intones “Pride goeth before a fall”.