I've decided to make the move from my cozy (yet pricey) home in the swanky King William neighborhood, to the squalor of a cold water walk-up flat on the West Side. And may God have mercy on my soul.
But before I drove over to speak with my landlady, I stopped off at Urban-15. George had wanted my help coordinating their up-coming Josiah Youth Media Festival. Actually, I was hoping that when I mentioned my financial straits, he'd realize the huge amount of unused space in their building, and suggest that …. We'll, it didn't happen. But it was good I had stopped by. He said he'd left a message on my phone Sunday. I never got it. The message he wanted to convey is that they had the funding to hire me on a part-time temporary basis to help run this festival.
We went down to the basement to talk. There was a young man sitting at a desk editing video. He turned and stood.
“Erik,” George said, “this is–”
“Oh, I know Herman.” Me and Herman shook. Herman Lira was one of the floating crew members on Garrison. Working sound, camera, lighting, whatever he was needed to do. I'm glad to see him working with George and Catherine. Herman is doing animation work for George's video art installation which he's been commissioned to do for the Smithsonian Museum branch here in San Antonio. Ray Santisteban (my neighbor who I've hardly ever met), is providing the video content to the motion collage. George is currently working his way through certain technical challenges involving three video projectors suspended from the ceiling, compounded by the needed specifications of projector lens, video cables least-likely to degrade their signal over a given distance, cost concerns of the various options, and a whole raft of stuff conveyed to me in a dense technicalese way over my head.
George printed me up the current draft of the Josiah Festival press release, and mentioned that we should meet Monday.
I drove to the Monte Vista neighborhood to tell my landlady I was moving out at the end of March. I rang the buzzer. I knocked on the door. I knocked louder. I looked down the drive and saw her Caddy in the garage. I walked across the front patio to look down the drive of the house next door, where her son lives.
“Erik,” I heard her shout, in her thick Irish accent straight out of central casting. I hadn't seen her in about five months. And with all her health problems, I had begun to suspect the worse. But she was moving around pretty well. She hugged me and we sat on the low wall of her patio.
“You're looking well,” I said.
She quickly set me straight with a litany of recent hospital and emergency room visits. Tales of blood clots, nerve damage, and some operation done on her toe to which she drew my attention by wiggling the foot in question barely concealed by a flip-flop sandal.
After she caught her breath, she asked how I was doing. Before I could answer, she clutched her chest.
“You're moving out,” she said. A statement, not a question.
The fact is, you can't hide anything from your barber or your landlady.
“Yeah,” I said. “I can't make ends meet. I love the place, but I'm constantly chasing money. I found a place where I'll be paying half what I'm paying now.”
I did not tell her I intended subleasing from a particular former tenant of hers whom she had threatened legal actions (because of a series of events — only some of which were misunderstandings).
She mentioned how she'd work with me. Even bringing the rent down. I believed her. But after I let her know that I needed a BIG decrease, she shrugged and said she'd be sorry to see me go.
Back home I met Dar for our weekly Thursday hike. We took the stretch of the Mission Trail between Mission Concepción and Mission San José. I made sure to slather on the sun block. I can still smell it on my arms. Very refreshing. The smell of summer. And it's about time.