today, i met the lawyer from legal aid who has been assigned my brother skip's case. my brother, bob, and i accompanied skip to springfield. skip is being evicted from his subsidized apartment for smoking, something he has always done for the 20 + years he has lived there. i learned from jacob, the very young lawyer, that property owners in vermont can impose no smoking policies.
i wish that my brother, skip, was not the hardheaded, stubbborn person he is. i wish that emotionally, he had the maturity of his 69 years, not that of a 12 year old boy. i wish he could listen to opposing opinions gracefully and resolve issues logically. but he has always bullied his way through a hard life by arguing and fighting. he argued that he only smokes cigarettes in his apartment at night, when the other tenants are sleeping. with his window open. you cannot smoke in your apartment at all, i replied. he didn't want to listen to me so he left the meeting, left bob and the lawyer and me at the table and went outside, probably to smoke a cigarette.
there is a very slim chance that i can find a psychiatrist who will diagnose skip with post traumatic stress disorder. he was attacked in his apartment by an intruder in 1997. since then, he sleeps in a recliner in his living room. he is unwilling to smoke outside, especially in the darkness. he feels vulnerable. a ptsd diagnosis from a respected therapist might allow him to smoke in his apartment.
if skip would agree to smoke those electronic cigarettes i bought him when indoors, and not his pall malls, jacob might be able to overturn the eviction. there is one subsidized community in brattleboro that still allows smoking. but there is an 18 month wait for a one bedroom apartment. and brattleboro is too far for my sister, dee, to continue her wednesday night suppers with skip, too far for bob to pick him up and take him grocery shopping. here, he is centrally located to his bank, the post office, the grocery store, the rite aid that fills his perscriptions. i wish the 69 year old man who is my brother would realize the hardship this eviction could create. but the adolescent boy who controls skip's reasoning wants to live in a remodeled boxcar or in an rv and smoke freely, ignoring the copd issues, the advair and the inhalers, the coughing.
part of me is still so frustrated with paul stewart, who bought skip's building and 5 other buildings in the village. and in 15 other vermont communities. and 4 other states. all subsidized by the government, and refurbished with grant monies. he has made a lucrative business from what he learned when he worked for hud. he doesn't care that his policies displace people. he doesn't feel he needs to respond to my emails or my letters. i'm sure that he isn't concerned about jacob, our young lawyer. what he does may not be illegal but it is unethical. it is greed-driven. it is wrong.
there is a storm brewing.