Last year I made a rather innocent decision that turned out to be the prelude to a period of personal disaster. My life has changed more in the last 18 months than it had in the previous 18 years, and perhaps it would have changed that drastically if I'd done something different, but where would I have wound up? Good question.
Summer of last year, I met this fellow who told he he couch surfed. I ran into him yesterday, and it would seem he still does. I didn't recall him well enough to be know who he was until someone called him by name. He has a distinctive name, we talked. He recalled different things from a long walk across campus than I did. He asked me where the tulip trees are. Off the top of my head, south side of Bascom hill, within 100 yards of the top, and after thinking about it, that is precisely where they are. His memories of last years conversation, which lasted over an hour, were much more detailed than mine. Is that a result of his youth? The easiest way to find the tulip trees, after more thought, is not to look for the leaves, but to look for those smooth straight trunks with no branches and silver bark. There are 3 of those trees planted in a row below the math building.
My conversation of yesterday with this fellow included him making the remark, "We talked about that, remember?", a number of times. It's real hard to remember much of that conversation he never followed up on, when the follow up on my side worked out so poorly. He is focused on doing something for somebody else and getting paid for it. I was an am more focused on trying to do something where I work for me. Writing is about the only prospect I have left in that direction. He's young, and people like to by the labor of young people. When I was his age I sold my labor in the same fashion. Only now, I realize I could have gotten a lot more back then.
I found out who Wolfgang was. He's a guy I knew from cab driving, and never knew he was a co-op type. So, to the person who asked me if I knew him, yes I did. I'd know him on sight probably, and if I ran into him we'd greet each other like old friends, ask how life was going, and move on in the direction we'd been going in before we bumped into each other.
The co-op continues to look different, as it empties out. Most of it's contents are going into the drop box on the south side of the house (trash bin), and a huge amount is going into box's being staged to be put into storage into a roll off trailer body that will be put next to the building where the drop box is now. I found out that the plan for the building is not known and there are a few proposals. It will take a month's worth of meetings after the building is given over to the smoke and water abatement contractor for a final decision to be made. Why a month's worth of meetings? Well, maybe not a month, maybe 2 months. That will mean that sometime in November or December they can begin contracting the job. If the contractor is super fast and the job only takes a month, that would mean the house is out of business until Winter Semester of 2014.
Could the contractor fix the house in a month that time of year? Unlikely. The house is on a downward slope that is 20 or 30 yards long, in a real tight neighborhood. Try to get a truck down that slope with materials in the winter? If it's snowed or rained, or the neighbors are doing anything to block the way, it's going to be a real logistic headache. I'd figure in an extra 6 weeks into any contract for that kind of headache during November and December, and January and February are nightmarish. It's suddenly looking like Summer of 2014 is the earliest it could be finished. Sigh.....