Unless you’ve friended me on FB then odds are you don’t know that I live in a condo complex with my family and that lately there have been issues. While I’m not going to fully disclose all the mishigas here (and, honestly, I lack the wherewithal to talk about it AGAIN) but I will say that it’s been wonderful/horrible inspiration for me. Wonderful in that I wrote a very powerful couple of pages over the last week and horrible in that I don’t like having such intimate contact with tyranny so as to lend me the up front, in my face issues of it.
The relevant portions of the issues are quite simple. I’m an officer on the board of the association and I’ve been complaining to the President via phone AND snail mail about a rodent problem we have in my building – FOR THREE MONTHS. I also found out I was deliberately kept from a meeting in which funds were appropriated for projects addressed by the President and the Vice President while my two month old letter (I only succumbed to that form of communication when it seemed I was being ignored) was merely read aloud without the benefit of the other five members seeing it (or the date on it). When one of the unit owners in my building complained to the President about all this because an area of a lawn got fixed near the other buildings while our rodent problem was still being ignored me, said unit owner and his wife were then treated to a threatening and menacing presence of the President’s husband. Given that the unit owner only didn’t call the cops because his wife and I seemed doubtful that it was the proper course of action I know this is not in my head.
So, now I’m on the board, legally culpable, not informed of anything AND get subject to a malevolent glares/bullying. Did I mention I pay fees for this kind of nonsense? The feeling of such a position is one of futility. Supposedly I have power, but can do nothing. Worse, I can attempt to do something and only get smashed down and potentially wind up playing the patsy. If that’s not tyranny I don’t know what is. Now, the inspiration is the very real and visceral response I had to the fear brought on by the bully of a husband. To speak up, to do is now something that is seemingly worthy of punishment while the association still sits there with a hand out demanding you pay for this kind of rule.
My characters live in such a world. Incidentally, I had left my heroine just as she was about to be arrested prior to all this drama and so wound up writing this:
The shadow was tall and lithe, the bulk of man hidden within the folds of darkness as he slipped in and out of her vision. Alex knew not his gender, only a sense of his presence as she neared her home. A feeling of rape, that violation confirming nothing is ever yours, weighed down upon her shoulders as though chained to her. There was no sense of privacy, not even the illusion of it, only the foul taste of disappointment upon her palate as she walked into the building. The cold box of the elevator encapsulated her, shaking only subtly as it propelled her to her floor, to an apartment in which she was not safe nor to have any comfort within. Her mind clung to the recollection of a warm heart, and arms in which she found happiness and rapture, while she tried desperately to solve the equation of what she could do to defend herself in a world that told her she couldn’t.
Someone was behind her in the hallway now, another standing inside her room. The silver glint of old style restraints tickled her eye as though some lewd joke was being shared amongst all present. Wrapping her wrists in a cold embrace the men leered and pushed. Her voice was clearer and stronger than she imagined it would be as she called out the words of the oft-laughed at Miranda rights. No fear resonated in their steps, their touch, as they laughed and grabbed her breasts. New words, she had yet to hear before were announced in a whisper against her ear, the stink of violence upon the moist breath covering her face.
About two days after writing that I began working on my resignation letter to the board of directors.