You can learn a lot about a guy by evicting him.
This morning, I was involved in a move-out crew. A guy was being evicted after his property was foreclosed. Myself and two other guys, Stacy and Justice, were called on as a moving crew at a small condo where a fellow had hit hard times. I could use the money so I jumped at the chance.
At first, my heart was breaking. All I knew is he lost his job a year ago, and couldn't make payments. Now he must leave. Added to the fact is that the guy apparently is in some way paralyzed after an accident as a teenager. I considered, if I saw him, giving him my check. I know as well as anyone the difficulties of finding work in these times, but I have a home. He surely needs the money more than I do.
At first, I could only see how rotten life must be for the guy. How couldn't my heart break?
Then, I heard he refused a significant check to just have over the keys and move on. The end result legally would be the same, except he would have a lot more money. Not a good decision for a guy down on his luck.
So there we were, ready to enter the place. There was a realtor whose company I think technically owns the place. There was a locksmith to unlock the door and replace the locks. And a police officer - a nice guy who said he has seen these things go pretty bad, but, as he said, "It's a living."
I still felt bad for the evicted guy. Until now, he was nameless. I try to think of everyone as someone. Everyone has a name, and with that a name, a full life. Bad choices happen even by otherwise decent people. I can hardly say I've always been wise.
When we entered -- a one bedroom condo in a major complex -- it wasn't clean. By not clean, I don't mean he could have swept more. His furniture was gone, naturally, as was his fridge and dishwasher. Left behind was a pile of junk in one corner -- a mix of papers, food jars and a few odds and ends. Small pieces of junk were on the floor.
In the bedroom, he chose to break every light bulb and leave glass on the floor. Petty stuff. In the kitchen, he also tore out the counter. Especially petty. Ripped out some pieces of wood which, strangely, were left in a nice pile in his dining room.
In the junk pile, there were papers that showed he was being paid in cash as a DJ somewhere. His resume was there. He had a job answering phones for a porn company.
I know he liked brownies, but not enough to finish the plate of them. Shopped at Aldi, and occasionally ate at Hooters and had takeout from Outback. He liked blue cheese dressing and grape jelly.
He BBQed enough to have several bags of Kingsford briquettes. This also meant he didn't use a gas grill, as is often the case in multi-level buildings. An empty pack of cigarettes was on his balcony.
He enjoyed motorcycle racing, as evidenced by an autographed poster of Jennifer Snyder, a sort of Danica Patrick wannabe. He didn't want the poster.
We threw what we could into a bunch of large Husky contractor bags and dragged them to the dumpster. What this guy left behind was now meaningless trash.
And I learned his name.