I am a Foolish Man

The Fortunate Warrior is a generous yet gullible man. I’m in my room at the Union Street house, warm and safe, but downstairs on a table is a pile of overdue bills capped with disconnect notices. I paid the bills in 2013 because I had been working, assuming that the other men would have their respective acts together and be able to take over, even pay me back their share. Alas no. Each of them have their own way of not coping, not facing that pile of bills. I told them that in 2014 I would not be able to do much, and they are following suit, by not doing much, in fact playing games of denial while time burns away.

I have long complained that this is an expensive house for what it is, what I get out of it. Privacy is rare, and entertaining my friends here is impossible. (I’ve tried – it doesn’t work.) The house is poorly maintained and a ripe kitty-cat odor is noticeable to me and my guests, but oddly not the other men of the household. I’m attracted to the house because it’s cheap. Not really – it’s expensive because it’s not a stable place. I wonder if the three of us actually have the economic capacity to make a go of it here. I’ve been here three years and I’m the only one who has made any serious money.

When the bills started to mound up I seemed to be the only one seeking solutions -What can I sell? what can I do? The others played games on the internet or slept. For the most part there has been no sense of urgency on the part of my roommates. I do have to pause here – problem solving doesn’t seem to be appropriate because I’ve done enough – after all, the bills aren’t even in my name. I’ve been paying everybody’s share.  Maybe it’s time to start seriously looking for an apartment, not just online but in person. I’ve been interviewing too so I can pay for it all. If I wasn’t caretaking my roommates I could afford an apartment. Walking though my fear and maybe enduring some discomfort might be the antidote to my anger and feelings of victimization in my current housing situation.

 

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Fortunate Warrior Sells Out

The Fortunate Warrior has indeed sold out – there is now a store at  http://www.cafepress.com/adgjlqetuop  where you can buy handsome accessories, emblazoned with his name, as well as other products. Visit often to seen changes to the site and additional products.

Your patronage helps keep this blog and body and soul together. Thanks for Visiting!

 

Transit Begins at your Front Door

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I needed to get somewhere, a place where I usually go to on foot. The snow had retreated a bit , but in some critical areas (like corners) snow that had been mounded up by plows blocked the sidewalk. In most places there was no sidewalk; I had to walk in the cleared street, a target for speeding cars and trucks. Snow and ice had not been cleared from sidewalks by homeowners and landlords. I saw Bus #31 at it’s stop at Madison and Pleasant View Parkway North Drive. No body could have ran and caught the bus –  there were mounds of snow and ice, some hidden by puddles of water. blocking the sidewalk.

This was a common story as I made my way south, having to walk into lanes of traffic  to circumvent a blocked or impassible sidewalks. On my way back the rain had picked up. the only form of precipitation missing was hail. Puddles were deep and ice was hidden. At least I was facing traffic so walking in the street was a bit less dangerous.

Indianapolis must face the truth that transit begins on your front step. It means citing people if sidewalks are not cleared. During the summer I see trucks slowly moving up and down my street, “code enforcement” officers dealing with high grass and weeds? Why aren’t these same people citing people for impassible sidewalks and walks/

The Indianapolis Transit Center seems to be a new laurel for IndyGo management and city government to lounge on, and it isn’t even built yet. The Transit Center (picture below from Urban Indy 9/28/2012) is a delicious suburban design with languorous awnings and green trees. But this facility should have a tower over it, to house people who need to be downtown, who need better access to transit. This is downtown, isn’t it? The rents would subsidize the Transit Center and other projects.

IndyGo Transit Center Architectural Concept (image source: bidding document)

I  step out my door and find transit opportunities lacking.

Eighty-four

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Even the Fortunate Warrior has a father. Today was his birthday, and yes, he is 84.

He’s been through a lot, even more than me. He came into this world as the final (seventh) child of his parents Eva and Abner. The Great Depression had just begun when he was born in 1930. His father had lost everything, foreclosed by the time my Dad was born. The family would soon be on the move, finally settling in southern Indiana. The need to find work and later WWII would scatter his older siblings to the four corners of the world. I have an uncle who celebrated his ninetieth birthday in December. My dad and uncle are the last of their generation. I am so very grateful to have these men in my life.

These men have both known poverty and very hard work. I swear both of them would be happier farming, and complaining about farming, if either of them still owned a farm. Both of these men still drive. Vans are popular. I’m sure my dad’s van antedates Henry Ford, while my uncle’s van is a nifty Sprinter Class B RV.

When I called my dad this morning he said that he (himself) and my uncle could hit 100. I’m not sure I’m ready to face having a parent in my life when I’m 70. If it happens it will be a blessing.

 

Last Day

Today is the last day of the year and I want to express my gratitude.

Thank you for the work I have had this year. I have met wonderful people and seen a part of this country I have not experienced before. Thank you for the opportunity to fly regularly, which I consider magical and wonderful.

Thank you for the Union Street house, which has been a refuge in the storm. Thank you for the roommates, for without them the successes of this year would not have been possible. Thank you for the people who have vouched for me, the recruiters who have called me, Thank you for IndyGo and everyone who has given me a ride. Thank you Dolly for being a sweet kitty.

Thank you for the City of Indianapolis and Victory who guards her, and thank you for Chicago, huge and powerful and wonderful. Thank you for opportunities that have not worked out because I was not supposed to go that way. Thank you for the missteps and failures, the anxieties and depressions. They will instruct me and guide me in the coming year.

Thank you for the new path of this year and all good things that have happened. Bless all of you in the New Year and good fortune to you all.

The Christmas Experience

The Fortunate Warrior decided to stay in Indianapolis for Christmas this year. One reason was no money to rent a car. Another was that the Union Street house in Indianapolis and the Elm Street house in Muncie are very similar – old, junky, cluttered, smelly, lack of good housekeeping, and cat infested.  My parents do not decorate their mess for the holidays, while a tiny, fake, white tree was the centerpiece of a low-key effort to decorate the clutter at my house. I do want to see my mom when she is feeling better and not feeling obligated to cook a big holiday dinner.

I was even interested in going to church this season. However, mass transit does not run in my neck of the woods on Sundays, and on Christmas Eve none of the services at Christ Church Cathedral are timed with transit riders in mind. (Cabs you say? It’s just as expensive as renting a car.)

.Note that the title this post is about experience. It’s one of the reasons why I rarely go to church these days. Religious experience does not mean to me listening to endless readings of poorly revised scripture, commonplace hymns sung with out enthusiasm. Where is the surprise in all of this? The effort of church demands there be joy at the other end. I’m well aware that showing up is 80% of life, but my experience of church is sullied by churches as political institutions.

The following story is not original, but amply explains my emphasis on experience.

One up a time there was a Viking. He and his men plied the coast of northern Europe down every river and tributary. The murder and pillage had grown old over the years, so the Viking had decided to change their tactic. instead of a wild, berserker attack, they marched to the center of the village and announced:

“Hear me, all you people! If you can explain this new religion, the one of the Nazarene, your village will be spared. Otherwise we will slaughter you all and burn everything.”

Al this the priest was trotted out, reading out of a book, at which the Viking gave the signal and the slaughter began. This scenario was sadly repeated over and over again. The Viking was disappointed that no one seemed to know.

One day they are in a village and repeated the question and the threat. The Villagers murmured. They made the makings of a  feast at the feet of their would-be slaughterers. They laid all their worldly possessions in piles, stacks of bolts of fine cloth, mounds of gold and silver, Wagons came from the Cathedral from which every precious thing had been stripped bare. Then the bishop laid his vestments down, now dressed as a parish priest.

The Villagers coaxed their captors as best they could  down to the river where they stripped off their garb as warriors and bathed in cool waters. Dressed in as good of finery as could find, they were seated at the high table and served by the people themselves.

The Viking was now confused. Twice he told the people to share the feast; on the third time he bade them to eat, and they thanked them and ate and drank heartily. Instruments were retrieved from one of the great piles, and the people and the murderers who were their guests danced until the sun broke the horizon.

Then the people rearmed the Viking and his men and stood before them, awaiting slaughter.

The Viking spoke. ” I have been fulfilled this day with a great mystery, of people feasting and joyful in the face of death. So I spare your lives and your property for I have a sense that you have answered my question that shows me and does not tell me about the religion of the Nazarene.”

The Viking and his men were bade to follow the people into the cathedral, and there the Viking experiences the mystery all over again.

Many good things happened after this.  The Viking released his men from their service, saying only to do no harm to the peaceful folk they encounter. Several men returned to the boats, but inscribed in the stone bluffs above the river for others to leave the town be. Most men stayed and married, making their living along the river or farming. The Viking became a monk and a scholar, traveling everywhere.

 

Darkness at the Heart

The Fortunate Warrior has had a tough year, especially a tough autumn. Many things have gone askew. The world that I imagined has degenerated into a base plain of blight.

For many years I have held Indianapolis in my heart, but only after experiencing Chicago have I realized that Indianapolis is a stage set for visitors. The monuments, the vast buildings, huge facilities, the new construction and the codependent need to be told by outsiders about how good we are means that for people who live here the city is an inadequate place. Schools are warehouses of the young, poor schools for the poor, poorly taught and administered. Public safety is inadequate as crime ravages this place. Transit is not about moving around but about waiting. The city does not like people who move and will not empower those who want to. Transit is for the poor, period. Why do they need to get around? Economic development is all about making the big bigger and not about small businesses which provide employment to many.

Even the lady, Victory, I have sometimes begun to see as a harpy, a sadistic woman who would rather see the dead piled on her steps rather than hold her light up to help us. There is no illumination. The people of this city are fodder for her sacrifice.  To this woman the only good light must be the fire of burning bodies in the night. Perhaps it is time to remove this woman and her tower and use the emptiness to heal us. It might be the only thing left.

So the Fortunate Warrior is in despair, darkness in his heart. I am in a place where I need to ask for help. What I fear is that no one will. Maybe it’s true that it really is up to me after all.