Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
… If you recall …
The idea for the apartments was a creative/design exercise. How do we make something attractive that’s also affordable. Affordable enough for people living on a basic income.
Well, we’re a year into the endeavour. All together, four apartments are rented. We’re entering the second stage which is screening potential tenants for the next four (the ground floor project has been put off to next year.) And of course the inevitable happened. We’re (personally) dealing with people on basic incomes. In most cases on some variety of assistance. Single mothers abound. The other day we met one in her very early 20’s with three children. This has required at times physically restraining my left eyebrow as people describe their lives. My prejudices are evidently many. Many.
I’d love it not to be the case, but as I speak to people, line after line after line is running through my head. Bad lines. I can’t help it. Lines about birth control, about personal responsibility, about the future of children. And then I have to just wait until my mind shuts up. Back in the world where I’m not mentally lecturing people I have to accept that life is as it is. Their choices have been made; and so the best course of action they can take is trying to find the best possible conditions to live in. Hopefully decent surroundings can play a role in improving people’s lives? It’s all very complicated this being alive business.