The Whittling of America – Part Two – Enclaves Cont.


                    Welcome back, My Dear Readers, to The Other Shoe. Today I am going to continue my story from ‘The Whittling of America Part Two Enclaves’. I would like to thank everyone for all the ‘Like’s and sharing my last article. I am working to present the best content and entertain. I am currently working to garner support for moving. The building I have lived in, for the past decade, has been sold to foreign owners. They are acting in an intimidating fashion to several of the long term residents here, and two other disabled Americans in this building.

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Yesterday they removed the dumpsters from the building. No there is no place to discard our trash. Brilliant! There is an Update Video by Danny (just click on those words). Now, back to our story!

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Allen had just mentioned the smog, mistaking it for smoke from a fire. Neither the driver nor myself had the courage to tell Allen that it wasn’t smoke from any fire… just L.A. smog. We began our accent up the winding road that leads to Rolling Hills Estates and ‘Promenade on the Peninsula’ the mall that Dr. Gorlick no has his offices. The van worked hard as it climbed up the winding road into the hills of Palo Verdes. We, literally, we moving above the enclave of the poor and the Long Beach port area.

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I was excited and my breathing began labored. I haven’t written much… of this new problem I am having. There are two respiratory problems I face now. I have emphysema (from years of smoking… I quit smoking six years ago) and the pressure on my spinal cord is causing me difficulty in breathing. Once or twice a week, now, I awake at night… and I am not breathing. Occasionally I awake to a narrowing tunnel of light… from the room. I have to throw my body over to the right, with my right arm, to lay on my back. Once on my back, I begin to breathe regularly again.

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Evidently my struggle with breathing was obvious because the driver asked if I was in need of assistance. I told him “No, we will be there soon.” At the very next light we took a right and pulled into the parking area of the mall. And what a mall it was!

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Now I have been to the Beverly Center in Beverly Hills. I have ‘Window Shopped’ on the World Famous – ‘Rodeo Drive’ in downtown Beverly Hills (I used to work right off of Beverly Drive and Rodeo). I have been to many… many malls, here in Southern California, from San Diego to Westwood. Never have I seen a ‘fancier’ outdoor mall in my entire life! It is an ‘Open Air’ mall… but it was clean! The name of the mall was Promenade on the Peninsula and it was a site to see! There was a; Banana Republic, Anne Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch, an Urban Underground and a J. Crew there is an Ice Rink, too. It is a three story mall built right into the hills!

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AS soon as you walk into the mall area… you smell the money. You know that you are walking among the top 10% and the kids do not have zits! J I KNEW my doctor was good and he had his last birthday party at the Beverly Hilton. However, it just didn’t sink in until that day. Allen and I rode/walked around for about an hour. We got to the doctor’s office early so we window shopped for things we would never be able to afford. It was Fun!

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However, it was strange to me. Almost unnatural at first glance, at least to me. None of the teenagers had zits, and all had perfect smiles. You knew that they came from families with (lots) of money, yet they dressed down. Se, I was in my (discount @ Marshall’s) Tommy Hilfiger polo shirt and Tommy Hilfiger slacks. I was wearing a Oscar De La Renta sports jacket and I was the best dressed person I saw. It is almost like they have the money so they don’t want to look the part. But walk into the Ruby’s and see a single hamburger was $14.00, you just know that you are in a wealthy neighborhood.

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Just moments ago we were travelling in the most impoverished neighborhood I have ever seen. Just five minutes drive, up a hill, and into another world you arrive. The change was stark and it took me a few moments to adjust. The next thing that I noticed? The stares!

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Everywhere I went they stared. They looked at me like “…what is a disabled person doing in our mall?” Then I find that the elevators do not work. I have to go out, through the parking garage, and up to the third floor. Exit the parking garage, at my doctor’s office floor. I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of seeing Dr. Gorlick. I had just traveled since 9:00AM and nothing was going to stop me now. Everywhere I turned, every time I moved from one area to the next (like from the theater area to the dining area) they stared at me.

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I know that most of you, My Dear Readers, will never experience this feeling. And, for that, I am very glad because it is not a very nice feeling. I know that the people mean no harm, and that for many it might well have been the very first time they saw a disabled person… in person. I am not here to judge. It is just this totally uncomfortable feeling that gets right under your skin. However, once I got into the doctor’s offices, it passed and I was back to feeling OK.

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I had never been in a doctor’s office in a mall. It was a completely new experience, for me, so I took it all in. There was the Disney Channel playing on the T.V. (at the other office it was channel 9 (KCAL9). The office was very large and had two nursing stations. Kind of like a hospital. The equipment was all brand new and of the highest quality. When doctor Gorlick came into the room, he was carrying a laptop. This office was completely up-to-date with the electronic records we all hear about.

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Dr. Gorlick was very happy to see me, and expressed surprise that I came all that way on mass transit. We had a very good visit, and then I got my refills and the follow-up appointment. We were in and out of the office in just a matter of twenty minutes. We had waited longer than I thought, so we rushed to go back to where we were to meet the van. We only waited a few minutes, and then the driver pulled right up. I rode my power chair back in front, and he strapped it in place.

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I immediately asked for the A/C to be cranked… I get hot so easily now. With that we headed back down the hill and out of the enclave for the wealthy. I looked in the rearview mirror, as we left, and wished a little wish. I wished to know, in this lifetime, what is it to live that comfortably. Looking back, now, I just wish not to end up on the street. However, if my novels do very well… well, there is no telling how fare I can go. One thing will never change. I will always remember where I came from, Pearland… and now the poorer part of Orange County. No matter where life may take me, and right now… it is merely the desire to not be on the streets. I will never ever forget this trip, both ways, and what I saw and learned.

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Travelling back, oddly enough, we went pretty much the same way. Back through the port area, then into downtown Long Beach. A quick pick-up, then drop-off and off to Disneyland again. The return trip was pretty enlightening… easily as much as the trip up (get the analogy? UP and is class?) Descending from an enclave of the wealthy, down into an area ripe with poverty. From downtown Long Beach, with the homeless people with carts. On to the freeway, and dropped off at the playground for the Middle Class.

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Then back on to another van and another freeway. Only to be dropped back, eight hours later, at what is still my home. Funny, that… coming back to the Cypress Lodge I didn’t look down on where I live. More than anything??? When we pulled up? I felt the terrible fear return. As soon as we hit the driveway… my heart jumped and did cartwheels. Even though I saw it as home. I knew it would not be that for long.

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That feeling hangs over all I do.. it is in every breath I take. This feeling of… soon… very soon… I will not even have this… the Cypress Lodge. I am looking. I am making calls. I am planning for the MRI and everything I can. But still… there is, like, a blanket that hangs over everything I do and see. A dark blanket… like one of doom that blocks out all light… all kindness. I feel it now, even as I write, a deep seated fear. What if

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What if I cannot get something… van or truck, to move my belongings? I do not have insurance, now, as I do not have a car. At this time… I do not have the money I will need to move. What if… the time comes… they come to lock me out… and I have not put the resources together. That is what keeps me awake every single night. A fear that creeps into everything I do.. Every thought I have… Every emotion I feel. This fear has permeated my entire life… and only one thing will make it go away. Certainty.

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I can find a place, to live. It might not be as nice… I can hope it will be nicer. I think I can manage (with enough money) to rent a truck. With which to move my things. Everything depends… hinges on… Me having the money. That is why I fear so much. That is why I do not sleep. That is why my fingernails are all torn down to the quick. I an so deeply afraid … the money I will not have.

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Sorry… I really didn’t plan on going there. I really didn’t. Just, somehow, writing about pulling back up into the Cypress Lodge, that day, will the emotion took me there. I apologize for voicing my fears… that way.

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That brings us full circle in my tale. Back to where we began. I hope that I relayed some of the wonder and emotions that I felt. I hope that, at least sometime, you saw through my eyes. This country… this great country of ours… has changed. Not only has wealth and influence collected around a small group of people. The ‘Have nots’ are in enclaves, too.

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Enclaves that do without. Without clean streets. Without clean air. Without a ladder to climb out. We Americans have separated ourselves, according to wealth. It would not be so bad… or indicative of something worse. If only the disparity… was not so pronounced. The disparity, My Dear Readers, is so very stark. In this journey I saw it, like a movie playing out before my eyes. It was real it was tangible. It felt like I could reach out and touch the pain. I had to take an extra long shower, once I got home.

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As always, I want to “Thank YOU!” For your time and I am honored you come here to read. I hope that my life gets on the right track… and I can continue to wire for you.

Again

“Thank YOU!”

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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

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