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reflections on turning 60

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I turned sixty last November. So, everybody wish me a happy 60th birthday. Also, I have recently seen a twentieth and tenth anniversary.

coming to T.O.

I arrived in Toronto in August of 1994. I came here for a variety of reasons.Partly, just looking for someplace to live where everything was not a constant struggle, and to get away from the meanness of Alberta. Living here has been an improvement over living out west, but not a vast improvement.

At least in Toronto you do not have this pervasive "hate the poor" thing you do in Alberta. Nothing I have heard about Alberta tells me that this has mitigated in recent years. At least Ontario is going the other way. If I knew what I know now, I might have kept going to the Maritimes.

In Toronto, the "get a job or move on down the line" thing just does not fly. There are people with that kind of mentality, but they soft peddle it. In Ontario, that ideology gets its push from rural areas or the "outer carburbs". However, Toronto has limited ability to protect its poor; the province keeps local government on such a short leash.

People in Toronto also tend to have this "helpless" attitude. One of my neighbors tells me that Ontario is the most corrupt province in Canada. If so, this is why; the only way people know to influence power is to go cap in hand to the local manager, the city councillor, the MPP. If they get no response then their response is to throw up their hands and; "nothing can be done". The typical response to every abuse of power is "oh, isn't that typical", with a resigned sigh.

getting security

It is a bit better in the building I am in now, and in this neighborhood. There are people here who actually talk back. But even these tend also to be a bit too self satisfied.

From August 1995, after a year down at the eastern beaches renting from Jash the flash, I got moved into Toronto housing. I was stuck in one of their worst buildings, right down the street from the largest "homeless hostel" in the country; Seaton house, alias Satan house.

One of these days I blog about my nine years there. Actually, just reedit the legal document I prepared for eventual action about it. Finally, when they could not eliminate me, they gave into me and sent me to where I wanted to be. By that time I knew where that was.

So ten years ago last August I moved into the best apartment I have ever lived in. It exceeds even the comfortable place I was in for nine years in the belt line in Calgary. I have now lived here longer than I have ever lived anywhere, including the ten years in my old family home in Acadia in Calgary. I think I will be here until they carry me off to the "care home".

I think I am now as secure as I ever can be. I am a believer in the axiom from Pericles; "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you". I have never understood why all these "underclass" people cannot figure out that trying to be passive and submissive does not protect them from abuse.

I have found by long hard experience that there is usually nothing to lose and everything to gain by fighting back. Especially, if you are somebody that nobody gives a damn about. Of course I have also found that it is a lot easier to cope with the world when you are reasonably well and healthy.

getting health care

That took quite a bit of fighting as well. The improvements came in three steps. One was getting my face opened up so I can breathe. Second was finally getting the c-pap machine so that as I have got fatter I can deal with the apnea. Finally were the right medications to cope with the fibromyalgia without leaving me completely zonked out.

The first, I got done in Alberta. All three took a tremendous fight with the medical profession, such as to make me wonder if I was not being black balled in some way. With some of these bastards, it was like they have a Nazi mentality that weak people like me, who will never be productive, should not survive, should not have their lives prolonged through proper medical care.

All three of these advances had a downside to them. The facial surgery lead to constant colds for several years, and a very dried up nose. It improved when I got out of the dry, cold air of Alberta. Now I rarely get colds, and they are not as severe.

The c-pap machine, Continuous, Positive Air Pressure device, was like heaven. I am angry that I did not get it some years earlier. However, I do believe it would have helped before having the facial surgery.

But afterward; big long fight with the cheap shits of ODSP about getting the masks replaced at regular intervals. They only wanted to fund them every two years. They are made of plastic to last six months.

But that was trivial compared to the trouble with the fibro drugs. They, too, were heaven; at first. But they were not covered. After a bad experience with the gabapentine, a kind of earlier version of pregabalin, where the skin problem started, I discovered Cymbalta, which worked as well and actually is covered.

Right now I am on a low dose combination of the Lyrica ( Pregabalin) and Cymbalta. They are both now covered. I have be on antihistamines to curb the nerve itch, but which is now under control and gradually subsiding.

The skin problem left me severely depressed for a couple of years, which limited further my already limited ability to get things done. It did not do much for my hide, either.

But I am now feeling better than I have felt in a very long time. In some ways I think my level of alertness is better than when I was in my twenties. From chronic sleeplessness I have gone to getting too much sleep.But it is so luxurious to be able to lay down and sleep when I feel tired and wake up feeling recharged.

Physically, however, I am just about shot. My joints and especially my feet are full of spurs from years of overweight and tightness. I cannot run at all. The cause has been removed, but the results are still there. I am presently going through a new round of clowning from ODSP to get orthotic supports prescribed for me.

the future in the past

But as you have noticed, I can sit up and pound the word processor for quite a stretch now. I have surroundings conducive to good living. I have something like a network of friends and contacts in Toronto who can help me if some of these bastards start to come after me again.

I have moved up the Maslow hierarchy from meeting my physical needs to having personal security and acceptance, and am getting into personal fulfillment. Love? No, I think that part of it is out of the question. My life has made me another "self in exile", what the psychologists crassly call a "schizoid personality", like that is a crime.

But I am now 60 years old. I get to retire in five years, from what I don't know. Maybe from being a "thrown away" victim of abuse. I will have some more money, which will make it easier to travel out west at least once a year, which will help to carry out some unfinished business I still have out there.

I do not want to just "retire". I want to do some things in the time left. It would help if I could come up with some substantial money so I could do some traveling. But I am also looking back at the waste of my life with real hate. I want justice and restitution for all that crap.

revenge is fun

I am familiar with all the pseudo-moralistic and pop psychology crap about not living in the past or having grudges. I have learned from experience that it is lots of fun to rip a chunk of hide off people who have maligned and injured you. There are even some contrarian psychologists who recommend it as a catharsis for emotional traumas.

I have ripped some pretty good strips off the Toronto police and the Toronto East Detention center. These have allowed me to furnish my apartment quite nicely. I have taken some nice bits out of various other abusers, including a net service provider and a social agency hired to run a program for the city.

But I could have taken a lot more hide if I knew then what I know now or will know in the future. This is not the place to get into what I feel about the legal system of this country, and about the common law system in general. But I could also have got a lot farther without all the black flagging and judicatiousness that goes on with the court system, especially the small claims court.

I have done a lot of complaining about this. I was instrumental in getting one particualrly vicious small claims court clerk fired. I am sure I had a lot to do with getting this judge Thompson removed from small claims court, but she was brought back.

She never tried to get in front of me again; but still found indirect ways to mess with me when I was trying to work on Google and the Gabapentine doctors up at 47 Sheppard. She is now gone for good from there.

I have a whole filing cabinet full of stuff that could be turned into fun days in court and some money at some point. Some of them are in Alberta. But I have been down and ill for most of the last two, maybe three years and I am only starting to get rolling again. But as I said, I am feeling a bit better and I am going to be rolling a bit faster.

Fucking the fuckers is good for the soul, but is like the Lyrica. It relieves the pain but cannot cure the damage done, or return the lost life. At the time most people are thinking about winding down and retiring, I am just starting to really live. Or will if my health holds.

coming back to haunt

Sixty freaking years! My whole life has really been about fighting for the right to live, to exist. All those rooming houses and drop in centers north of Queen are full of "ghosts of murdered children"; people who their parents did not want and who were usually finished off by the education and social services systems, made to feel like it is all their fault.

The difference between them and me is that I had innate character and intelligence that enabled me to survive. However, I had no one of my own quality to protect me and teach me, so the spiteful low grades could get at me, do everything they could to destroy me.

I would like to know what the real story is about how I came to be handed back to Hunkie Dorrie to take off the British Columbia for several years. I do not believe I was looked after by her before age three or four. I just would not have survived. I barely stayed alive anyway. As best I understand it, I was looked after by Granny R, until she was somehow forced to hand me back.

I do not know what has to be done to make Hunkie Dorrie answer questions about those old injuries to my head, neck, and shoulder. One approach could be to charge her with assault. But I have to be able to go back to Alberta, or find somebody who can act as my agent there. I still cannot figure out why some of these people seem to be afraid of Hunkie Dorrie.

fault

On the few occasions when I was still in Alberta, when I tried to get some answers from my various relatives, I would mostly get; its not her fault, he was a bum who would not work, or; it was not his fault, she was a pig who couldn't look after kids. No, it is the fault of the ignorant pigs who left me with them.

I could get into a long analysis of the interactions of their mental problems. Later on, I got this routine about how my two sisters do not agree with me about our parents. Disagree about what, I do not know, because I made a point of not drawing any definite conclusions, and mostly keeping my suspicions to myself. However, I am puzzled why people do not seem to notice that neither of them are the perfect pictures of mental stability.

Looking back, I keep asking what the hell was the matter with everybody? Hunkie Dorrie was very afraid to assault me again but was effective at preventing anyone from getting a close look at me and discovering her crimes. I said crimes. She found sleazy doctors who would go along with her.

She intimidated school and social service officials. When people finally stood up to her and were about to remove me, Dorrie forced her donkey husband to quit the army and go back to Alberta. There, in Acadia, we were around the corner from a very good special education program which would have been very good for me. She fought tooth and nail against sending me there.

digging myself out of the grave

If I had just had anyone to talk to in those times who was not a complete fool, it would have made an enormous difference in my life. I had the idea that once I was able to move away from them, everything would be fine for me. I would just find a job somewhere and then find doctors who could tell me why I felt rotten all the time. That is how naive I was.

I tried all sorts of things. I kept driftig back to driving a cab because it gave me the flexibility to be able to cocoon up when I did not feel well, and go out and make my money when I felt able to. But I never liked it much; always felt like a kind of moving target.

About 1982, I had a serious breakdown of my health. It was not just getting my gall bladder out; for several months I could barely move. Yet the jackass doctors still insisted there was nothing wrong with me. At this time I decided I did not want to go through this crap anymore; I was out of the workforce until I was well.

The social services and health care bureaucracies really did not like that. I was in danger from a serious campaign to get me fitted up as "schizophrenic" or something so they could give me electroshocks or neuroleptic drugs. I do not think a lobotomy was out of the question in those times in red neck Alberta.

The whole of the eighties was a really terrible time for me. I could not count on my ignorant relatives for any help. I tried sending some of the more prosperous ones a letter suggesting they might want to try helping me out with my fight, financially and otherwise. I was not pleased with the responses I got.

I really had nothing to tell them anyway. The brick wall I always ran into when trying to improve my situation in any way was; "but the doctors haven't found anything wrong with you". Therefore, there was nothing there. The doctors did not find because they did not look.

life begins

Finally, I dragged it out of these doctors that I had a sleep disorder, fibromyalgia, and a facial dysplasia. It took a couple of years of fighting to get the surgery for the dysplasia approved for funding. But there was no way in hell of ever getting the right treatments for the sleep and fibro disorders. Not in Alberta. So as soon as the facial surgery was finished, I was gone.

I wish I had left Alberta for good in 1974, not 1994. I went to B.C. a couple of times, but I did not like it there. In retrospect, I should have given it more of a chance.

But in 1994 I had some money. I felt better. I made a cross country Greyhound trip. I found conditions better in Toronto and I lit. You know the story from here.

anecdote

This autumn, I was attending a forum up at Ryerson. I am not exactly sure what the theme was supposed to be; something about new ideas for social services. I kept trying to get people to talk about Basic Income, without much success.

But I heard a very interesting speaker from Alberta. She was one of these people who are very good at getting good grades in university and getting scholarships. She worked for the Alberta government for awhile. She had spent a year at Princeton and was then in Toronto working on a PHD. She was only just out of her teens.

She was born and raised in Alberta. She told us that if we wanted to make money, go to Alberta. If we wanted to make a life, go anywhere else in Canada. She had plenty of very good ideas, too much to get into here. I wish I could have talked to her a bit afterwards.

still here

Well, I have something of a life now, here in Toronto. I still have some plans for my life. I think I could easily live to be ninety. I have some time yet, but not endless time.