When was the hardest part of your life – bike forums v gashi 2013


Similar childhood stuff to what other folks described. We were very poor. I was sick a lot and still have lifelong respiratory problems. But the funny thing is I wasn’t aware of it. My mom did pretty well at creating what felt like a normal life in abnormal circumstances that I can’t describe here. My mom was eccentric, to say the least, quite a character in the grand Southern Gothic tradition. Not always entertaining, but she did remarkably well despite her own issues and tendencies to undermine herself.

It may have helped that we grew up in the deep south in the late ’50s-early ’60s before the new prosperity wave came along. Everybody was poor. So blanching pokeweed for edible greens, picking roadside mulberries for desserts, etc., seemed perfectly normal. Later, when I lived with my well-off grandparents, I continued picking edible wild plants because my grandparents came of age during the Great Depression era and still valued the resourcefulness of the deep south. They had a small library of books that encouraged self sufficiency and made doing more with less seem like an adventure.

Fortunately that was an era before corporations became predatory, targeting kids for zombie consumer brainwashing. Sure, toys were advertised and they were appealing. But there wasn’t the same pressure that made less affluent kids feel inferior. My mom would often work late at two or more jobs and would surprise us with little toys that cost almost nothing but were perfect for little kids with short attention spans. I remember that fondly, at least as much as the pricier stuff we got later.

I spend more on my cats than I do on myself, but that’s also for me. They barf less when I give them good quality food. They stink less when I get better cat litter (Slide and Clump & Seal are the best I’ve found so far — expensive but worth it when you have multiple cats).

My daughters grew up under the peak of that brainwashing and it created ridiculous stress. They had to have just the right brand of jeans or lunch food and snacks or they’d risk ridicule and ostracism from the group. In some ways my kids had it worse, even though they never were deprived of anything in terms of materialism. But they *wanted*, thought they *needed* stuff to be complete. My older daughter lived in a perfectly nice house and town, but lied and pretended she lived in the nearby exclusive neighborhood with different family. She’d exaggerate and embellish her resume as an adult and get herself into jobs she really couldn’t handle. In some respects the effects of predatory consumerism made their lives nightmares well into their adult years, until they straightened out their priorities and aspirations.

Back to the OP’s original question, I suppose my roughest patch was a period of 17-20 years ago during which time both grandparents and my brother died, my marriage broke up, and I lost a great job due to illness. Then when I thought I was as far down as I could get my compact car was t-boned by a full sized SUV at highway speed, breaking my neck and back in six places.

Then I was denied even temporary disability or SSI despite being barely able to walk. Appealed several times, denied every time, despite a medical record as thick as a big city phone book. Anyone who thinks it’s easy to get on disability hasn’t actually been in a position to try. Certainly not in Texas. But it really depends on the mood of the magistrate you’re assigned at the appeals level. I got the magistrate who thought if you showed up in his courtroom without being in a wheelchair or morgue slab, you weren’t really disabled.

Got a $5,000 settlement and six months of physical rehab through the negligent driver’s insurance. Thanks, Texas tort reform laws — those six figure settlements you hear about on late night TV ads only apply to commercial vehicle accidents. Other drivers get by with as little as a $10,000 settlement, half of which goes to the attorneys. That’s why the best method to get away with assault and murder in Texas is to run ’em over with a vehicle and claim "I didn’t see them!" or "It was an accident!"

Didn’t even come close to covering my actual medical expenses, let alone the years of being unemployable. I had to do my own physical rehab just to be able to walk without a cane. That took more than 10 years. Fortunately I had money in the bank and managed to make my $15,000 savings last over a 10 year period. That’s living pretty frugally.

When I found myself broke newly in downtown San Diego in my 20s. While waiting for over a year for the shipyard strikes to end I wound up working a few minimum wage jobs and that’s how long it took me just to get out of downtown San Diego. But, you know, I remember that period fondly for the most part (although there was some tragedy involved that I must take some of the responsibility for) because I survived it. Hell most of my "adventures" came from that period and frankly it was a confidence booster for me. I don’t believe that I’d want to do it again at my age though.

What San Diego’s now-trendy "Gaslamp District" downtown on the harbor side of Broadway St. used to be in the ’70s. Except it never had any gaslamps and was then known as the "Stingaree district". I assume that referred to a certain medical condition commonly acquired in the area. By my, sometimes faulty, recollection that’s the 300 block of 4th St. looking towards the direction of Banker’s Hill. I used to briefly run a hotel two blocks west of there on 4th (The "Las Flores"…..classy joint NOT) and another over at 7th & G (The Arlington).

Zinger, I remember San Diego from way back when. Although I think the Gaslamp District had already been created or pretty much underway by 1976 when I was stationed there. But downtown was a dump, a miniature version of NYC’s Time Square before Rudy Giuliani’s tenure cleaned up and gentrified much of NYC. Most of the businesses were exactly like your photo shows — dive bars, adult book/movie stores, pedestrian businesswomen, barbers, tailors and clip joints luring in servicemen. .

You left out the massage parlors and topless bars. In San Diego it was Pete Wilson that started pouring funds into downtown when he was mayor there in the ’70s. The first time that I heard the term "Gaslamp District" though was when I moved back to San Diego from Dallas to work as a machinist in the mid ’80s. They surely gave it the name when they envisioned the refurbishment but it certainly had a way to go to be seen as a trendy night spot place yet and nobody that I heard on the street was calling it that when I was there in the ’70s.