02 July 2007

[liff] The Places One Leaves Behind

855 It's interesting to see what happens in the places one once was.

Tonight, watching FOXified 12's 10 o'clock report, we experienced the fine surreality of watching a report about a crime that occurred in a place we lived...well, not so long ago.

At the corner of SE Flavel Drive and SE Lambert St (a stone's throw from that fascinating Elks lodge at SE 52nd and Flavel Street (there is a difference between Flavel Drive and Flavel Street, but I digress)) there is a two-story, twenty-unit apartment complex that we (meaning YT and The Wife™ and our kitties) from about 1996 or 7 through 2003-4 (it's featured in the Google maps piccy illustrating, or view through the mind of Google here). Back it was called the Lambert East, and was owned by a sweet old lady who lived out in Gresham.

Lambert East was never the sort of place where the elite would go, except on their way from there to there–but then this is Brentwood-Darlington, more famously known as Errol Heights, and even more famously known as Felony Flats. This area, from SE 52nd to SE 92nd, and from Duke Street south to the Multnomah-Clackamas county line, has always had a sketchy history, but not completely; there are many people in the area who tend to thier houses, but there are a lot of the poor "white (and these days, otherly-ethnic) trashy" sorts there too.

Older houses, streets without curbs, that sort of thing. In the city for years now, still feels like you're in the county.

Anyway, when me and The Wife heard that there was a shooting there yesterday night, it was a surreal experience. There was the apartments we were living in for several years, not really changed much (except for a toffed-up name (The Apartments at Pacific Crest)) and a new, clueless management company.

The people hadn't changed much–the fellow who owned the rifle which was discharged, Ed, actually quite a nice fellow if irascible, we got on quite well–he still lives there. It's his whole life. He'll probably die there eventually.

Living there made you realize that life on your end of the spectrum is, if not cheap, available to be had at a deep deep discount. Everybody is struggling a little (or a lot); you have (at least they were at the time) an aloof property managment company; your neighbors may or may not have firearms, your neighbors may or may not have deep substance abuse problems or just plain bizarre worldviews.

But their mostly okay people, who drink a bit too much (what are they going to do for fun–Higgins? Portland City Grill?) and then get stupid when they get a little too much alcohol in them.

It seems unreal when we look back and know that that's where we've been. We're different people now, but not essentially changed, and we can't help but have some sympathy for them. But for the grace of God, you might be there with them; for a long time, we were.

Don't ever think you're more human than the people you think you look down on.

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