THE LANDLORD'S HENCHMAN phoned me yesterday asking could I knock on the room next to me to see whether the man answers ... and would I phone back with the result so I said I would ~ and no answer. I said "Why, is he OK?" and he said no. They think he's ill or something. So someone from the agency was going to come round and open the door just to see that he really IS all right.
This man is pretty old and very friendly. He gives the impression of not having a nasty bone in his body ~ yet somehow without that "gone-out," dodgy vibe some people have when they're so "nicey-nicey" they seem to have a screw loose. Perhaps one reason he always seems so cheerful is that every time we have met, either outside the house or in the hallway, in the few weeks since he moved in, he had obviously been drinking. I never have seen him sober. But he is so old and unsteady. You can always tell it's him coming in because the shufflings between front door opening and the scrabbling of his key against his door and that door actually opening seems to take a good five minutes every time. He is very unsteady on his feet, and I wouldn't be surprised if he had some type of Alzheimer's or alcoholic dementia. He seems somehow to be able to attain the same level of drunkenness every hour of the morning or night ~ he's in a perpetual blur. So it wouldn't surprise me if some other factor were involved. I've seen alcohol dementia, and that ~ or just general old age ~ would seem better to account for his general un-together-ness than drink alone. As I say, you'd need to be putting a lot of drink away, on a constant basis, to be that doddery and compromised...
THEN I CAME BACK HOME today to find the front door open and a policeman in our hall. "Is everything all right?" I asked. The policeman gave me a steady look, and said no. It turns out the elderly Carribean man downstairs has DIED. I heard the policeman saying into his radio that this man was SEVENTY-SEVEN YEARS OLD. So why on earth somebody that feeble and confused and obviously in need of help was living on his own in a house like mine, I haven't a clue. I don't want to think about it, because it will only make me angry.
I had only been into his flat the once, and that was when he said his heating was broken down last week. The boiler was working for hot water, and was set to warm up the radiators. Yet his radiators were stone cold. It has been absolutely freezing the last few days with snow settled everywhere. And this old man was living alone and confused in an unheated flat. He said the landlord had refused to look at the boiler. He was so out of it, he couldn't tell when the radiators were switched on or off. And now he's dead. Great, isn't it?
Oh and I'm supposed to be moving out and into a permanent place of which I have absolutely no details ~ this is according to my Support Worker, who won't give me the new address. I want at least to be able to check out the new place from the outside before going on an official visit with a council housing bod. Then I get to say yes or no to this new home ~ depending whether it's wonderful or otherwise. You're allowed to pick and choose between a maximum three places (which are offered one at a time) before it they say "right, if you WANT council housing, you have to take the next offer, or drop off the list". ALL I want is separate living room and bedroom, a bath, and a south-facing aspect to put up a satellite dish ~ otherwise I won't be able to watch German television, which makes all the difference to quality of life. And ideally, if it's a flat (which it probably will be) I'd rather NOT be on the ground floor ~ for security. So I'm in a bit of depression and stress over this, knowing that if I do move I'll find myself in a place that's completely unfurnished ~ not even curtains. And will have to get washing machine, fridge, bed and furniture all myself. I know I should sound a bit more grateful ~ but I just want to know what I'm being grateful FOR. Some of these council places are notoriously bad. I just WANT TO KNOW THE ADDRESS. The promised letter has failed to come. If I don't hear anything by Monday then I'm calling my housing manager. The idea of moving is really stressing me. Yes of course I want to move. But moving itself is horrendous. So most of the time I'm dealing with this in my own characteristic way: by not thinking about it at all.
Does this sound really terrible? I'm not in a bad mood. I've actually been feeling rather good. I'm still, most of the time, higher than normal. It's just that when I'm like this, every feeling and emotion is more vivid, so I'm VERY easily plunged into a whirl of confusion. I just want to know what is happening. And then, perhaps, I can be whirled up in a better-informed kind of way..(!)
So that's it ~ wow! A death in the house and me (hopefully) moving out with a Baby Chirper!