Silence, exile and cunning

I’m out of a job for a week, making no income, with an uncertain future. Unrelated to this, my landlord, seeing that the year long lease period is over, says he wants to increase my rent 25%. I live with his vulnerable 25 year old son who’s been hospitalised twice in 12 months, and was diagnosed, after a decade and half of problems, with Aspergers and major depression. So it’s an extra €80 a month. The landlord’s son, with characteristic honesty says he has been told to tell me this is to cover the new water charges (€10/ month), and the garbage collection the landlord does (worth €7-10 month) . He was also told to tell me that the house is large for the price (it’s a bit below average), and that the market rate is higher than €400 for a property of this type. The father doesn’t care who lives with the son. Given how inflated rents are in Dublin, and that prices increased 11% on house rentals in 2013,  someone would take it for €400. The market is in another fucking bubble. The son explicitly said that the father wants more money out of me. But at €400, plus whatever other living costs, which could be another €200 this winter, makes this place a lot less of a bargain when my monthly income might be be €650 at most, €400 at mid, and €0 at least.

Then there’s the other shit.

Last year, I knew the rent of €320 was low.  I was told about it through my friend. My friend was in a mental health ward with the son, who’s now my housemate. I thought the low rent took into account the fact that the place was in bad condition, and the son was frequently incapable of taking care of himself, or the house. The son’s body odour was extremely offensive, and was further soured by his inability to clean his room, do laundry or help around the house. It would also be cash in hand, as these were country folk who follow their own rules, unless it suits them – no paying tax on income for them! They would drive 80km, take our rubbish, drive 80km home and burn it, rather than share the cost of bin charges for it. The father, who is a builder, asked me why I even wanted a contract for the lease, let alone to fulfill statutory requirements to be registered with a landlord-tenant dispute agency. He seemed to fear the written word, and blanched or boiled at any hint of book learning. The mother had more sense, and printed out a contract for me to sign, and gave the son a rent book to log the rent received.

The son had a habit of leaving bags of rubbish and laundry in the entrance hall to the house, saying his dad “would be around this week”. He also dumped bags of rubbish in the alleyway, unknown to me. This lead to a letter from someone calling herself “Watchful Eyes Mary”, saying she knows who we are, that we had been reported to Dublin City Council, and we should be ashamed for being “litter louts”.

The father had a habit of turning up unannounced to keep an eye on the son, which I can understand.  But the father walked in on me half naked a few times, and as I never had notice of when they were showing up, the place was never cleaned or tidied sufficiently. He tracked mud into the house, and split his son’s cartons of rotten milk on the floor. This lead to a note saying “rince [UG] and [son’s name misspelled] rince out milk cartons”. The interactions between the son and his parents were extremely poisonous. The son related a story where the father fired a shotgun over the heads of people walking on the land, and how the father stole from his employers. The son advised me not to engage at all with the father in navigating this potential rent increase. Good advice.

The mother, in any interaction I had with her, was fair, sympathetic and even-handed. I’ve asked the son, who might make a balls of it, to say to her I lost my job last week, and I don’t have another €80 a month at the moment. At least until things settle down, I’ve asked them to hold back on a rent increase. If the rent will be increased, I want it to be as little as possible. So I’ve called their bluff, if it is a bluff. I worry that if the rent goes up based on bubble prices, it won’t stop there, and they will try nickle-and-dime me for whatever else they can get. They likely have a friend or family member who is looking for place in the capital to replace me if I bail on the house.

My decision all depends on if my parents are going to charge me €200/ month to live at home. I really don’t want to move home, as I know it will open me up to the threats or violence I got back in 2012. But like everything in Ireland, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. I only have to hold out until March, when the woman finishes her job up North. More and more it feels like leaving Dublin is a good option, or emigrating to somewhere that isn’t as tough for young people. Joyce wrote in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man that Ireland was a sow that ate its young, and there was no future for young people who didn’t believe there.  His formula for rising above the misery of Ireland was through silence, exile and cunning. I’ve always taken that to heart.

But it looks like I have to contend with losing my job, chronic illness and now housing insecurity in any case. I was homeless last year for two months, sleeping on the floors and couches of friends, which sucked. I do have enough cash to cover 4-5 months of expenses, but that would wipe my life savings, which I want to avoid, so I can get out of the country when I need to.

At least this misery is feeding the NanoWriMo novel.


3 thoughts on “Silence, exile and cunning

  1. Celicaxx feels pretty good in his house full of cat refuse now.

    What else. How’s Taiwan wonderland sound? They got stores just for Gundam models there. Studio apartments are like $200 a month there, no significant key money like JP or Korea, either., check it out. Shit, Emirates Air even has flights for a grand (799 of your money with strange currency symbols I can’t figure out how to keyboard.)

    I read about Ireland a bit. Ireland seemed hella sweet until the British came and conquered you guys. Also do you believe in the theory of Irish Christianity actually being influenced by the Coptics before the Romans came? Or is this theory about as plausible as Jesus coming to America and preaching the Gospel to the Native Americans (Mormons believe this.)

    Here’s a song for you.

    1. “Or is this theory about as plausible as Jesus coming to America and preaching the Gospel to the Native Americans”

      Both sound kinda fun.

      “My decision all depends on if my parents are going to charge me €200/ month to live at home. I really don’t want to move home, as I know it will open me up to the threats or violence I got back in 2012.”

      200 is cheaper than 400. Living at home sucks, but it might be worth to suck it up for a while. Just keep in mind that it’s only temporary.

      What’s this about threats of violence?

    2. Ireland avoided major Romanization (and Christianization) until St. Patrick came along in 432. This also marks the start of our written history. At that point, we already had our first Bishop appointed by the Pope, so there were Christians here. There’s primary sources that Romans were here in the 1st century AD temporarily, and the coast was mapped accurately by Greek/Romans in the second century by Ptolemy in ‘Geography’. We were mostly left to our own devices, but traded leather and gold with the Roman Empire on the English island.

      We also raided England for slaves, which is where we picked up the Roman Christian citizen, and future national saint, St. Patrick in the late 300s. It’s a certainty that we took Christian slaves in the centuries between 100 AD and 500 AD. It’s conceivable, but unlikely, that North African Copts were here in Ireland at some point between 100 AD and 500 AD as slaves, Roman citizens, traders, military auxiliaries or preachers.

      As the Eastern Roman Empire broke up, Early Christian Ireland became an intellectual and technological center in Western Europe between 500 and 1000 AD. People came from Europe to study (and build many and more highly advanced windmills than continental Europe, no lie). Early Christian Europe was more cosmopolitan than most people think, because the myth of a “Dark Age” following the breakup of the Western Roman Empire. So Copts could have come to Western Continental Europe before the Muslim invasions, and had some direct influence on monasteries in Ireland between 600 AD and 900 AD. Even if it was remote, or small. They may have even come to Ireland.

      Aside from the possibility of Copts having influence in Ireland, they produced ideas and structures which spread throughout Europe since 1st century AD. So in that way, they already had influence over what would become “Irish Christianity”.

      Re: housing.
      I’ve bargained them down to €350 from €400. They will keep taking the bins, making the effective price €340. They say they’ll “accept €350, until they find someone who will pay €400”. I’m not sure if they will. In any case, things in this situation usually get worse once trust gets eroded. Viewing some more places this week to get a feel for other properties with more normal living arrangements. The house is getting cold and damp again, so I’m less keen to stay in any case.

      Moving home would cut any income I get off the government, and probably offset the decrease in costs and sanity. My ma is unstable and gets violent when she is miserable. It’s an option. I’ll run the numbers when I know how much money I am getting.

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