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Friday, May 1, 2020

The woman in front of me checking into Motel 6 carried plastic bags from the nearby Marathon gas station for baggage. The manager, Don, told her politely that she couldn't have anyone else in her room. No one. Not for a visit, or quick meeting, or certainly not a party. If he found anyone in her room, she'd be kicked out immediately and lose any money on the room. She said the only people who would come by were there to pick her up. "Then you make them pick you up out front on the road," Don the manager said. She told him that she couldn't stay in her home because someone was threatening suicide all the time. Don didn't respond. Her son had already paid for the room so she picked up her plastic bags and said Don would have no trouble out of her. "Have a blessed day," she said. Don said, "You, too." As he checked me in for three nights, Don said over his shoulder, "Did you hear the speech I gave her?" OK, he said, turning to me and starting it over. I understand how I look right now. I have scraggy beard -- I call it my COVID beard because I stopped shaving when we closed the office -- and when not working I wear simple T-shirts where the only pattern is a series of food stains. Were I to boil it, the T-shirt could make a decent broth. I told Don I wouldn't be problem. How many times had he heard this? I told him I had just been laid off and had to move out of the office apartment, showing my card. "Rich Jackson, executive editor, Herald-Times." He didn't respond. I had left work at almost exactly 3 p.m. and it was now 3:30 p.m. I went from someone to no one in 30 minutes. I expect Guinness Book of World Records to call any minute. He finished the speech and I checked into the room. It smelled clean, and looked it. No mini fridge, no microwave. Hell, no Kleenex -- or even the sandpaper version you find in most hotels. That's fine. For forty-six bucks a night, I just need clean. Time to stop and flop and catch my breath. If there's blame to pass around, I'll take all of it. I had been working pretty much everyday since arriving at the Herald-Times 11 months ago with the exception of a week off at Thanksgiving to go see my kid. When COVID-19 covered the land like a deadly blizzard, I worked almost every minute of the day. I took little time to take care of myself and no time to look for an apartment, where I could unpack my goods in storage -- mostly books and cooking equipment. Plus, I love being a newspaper editor. A friend asked me recently what would be next. I said the three loves of my life are my kid, my mom and being a newspaper editor. There were a few times where it seemed like work but for most of the days it was like breathing. I have a little money saved up and the company is paying some severance and all my unused vacation and personal time for the year. The latter is real money for me as I've always kind of scraped by. So I've asked my social media friends for help, maybe a room, a bed. I'm a decent cook and better raconteur. On the downside, my snore sounds like someone trying to suck an obese cat through a Dyson V10 vacuum cleaner. So while not in distress, I am dispossessed. I am homeless.

14 comments:

  1. was stunned to see this. Glad you are not completely without funds...but geez....will be following on the blog. People care.

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  2. Hope U filed for unemployment stat. Best of good fortune to you. Will follow blog. What other skills do U possess besides journalism?

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  3. Well, that really blows! At least they're giving you severance pay. I think we're on the cusp of a new era in human resources.
    Not a good one either. I wonder how this compares with The Great Depression?
    We have many more people in the country now but, we are one or two steps above the people that came here enmasse from Central America. I call this life bulls***!
    Good Luck And Keep Blogging.

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  4. Shocked--utterly shocked when an e-mail from Jim Bright (Rotary) told me this shocking news. Asked my wife if we had a room--her reply, No, that's my office. But hoping others may come forth. I see your name is already off the masthead. Know Crane--really nice guy, but I can't believe they are doing this to you! I'm available any time--want to talk, come someplace OUTSIDE for coffee or other beverage. I'm assumign your Sunday editorial will also be cut. Write one you can post here! Keep writing this blog. Don't get sick! Hang in there! And I'm angry. Kentucky derby day today, but I'm gonna WEEP this time when they play My Old Kentucky Home. ("Virtually" of couse!) Terrible when they do this to you in such desperate times.

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  5. Good life = bad theater
    Bad life = good theater

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  6. Was thinking of you this morning. I'm 52, work at a weekly and waiting for my turn at the chopping block. If it weren't for friends taking me in, I'd be homeless, too. We have new owners, no medical leave and I'm going in for another cancer check-up next week. Can the timing be any worse? Hoping the best for you.

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  7. Praying for you and this b.s. situation you've been put in. Please feel free to correct that sentence to "... situation in which you have been put.". Have to keep those editing skills sharp! ��.
    Seriously though, I look forward to following your march to victory over this crazy situation through your blog. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, Rich. Didn't realize I was commenting as "Unknown". (#oldpeople)
      This is Otto Ray. ottoeray@gmail.com

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  8. I‘ve never been an editor, but displaced has a familiar ring to it. Keep the faith, this too will pass. In the meantime, know that the world is pulling for you. Best wishes from a fellow American, this one at the moment in Bavaria. Be well and wash those mitts!

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  9. I would like to receive your writings daily...how do I subscribe.paboden@gmail.com

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  10. We publish many stories from homeless people themselves and the fight for everyone to have a home. Would love to know what you think about the coverage. Info@peoplestribune.org

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  11. Call Me if you want to co-publish a news website! Jeff 970-317-9178

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    ReplyDelete