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Good Old "FWP": short reflection on my current existence

One of the reasons my blogging output has been so sparse recently is due to a significant amount of housing stress myself, my partner, and my daughter have experienced in the past month.  Combined with the regular work stress––both formal and informal––and organizing commitments, I have had very little time and energy to devote to MLM Mayhem.  At the same time, however, this housing stress has also confirmed the fact that I possess a certain level of privilege to endure and compensate events that others experience as a matter of course and in a far more visceral manner.

Nearly a month ago our upstairs neighbours' apartment flooded.  Because they were out of the city, the flood continued unabated until, without anyone around to monitor the incessant water build-up, it leaked through the ceiling and walls of our apartment at four in the morning.  By the time we were able to get in touch with building management so as to shut off the water, our home was flooded––the ceilings, large portions of the walls, and carpet destroyed––and we found ourselves holing up in a neighbour's place.  Since then, we have been living in another neighbourhood with the majority of our shit warehoused and awaiting inspection damage, trying to adjust to this dislocation.

Due to the fact that we once lived in an apartment presided over by a shitty slumlord, we have had contents insurance––there's nothing like an encounter with someone who might possibly set a fire to your home to collect the insurance and sell the lot to a development corporation to make you think about insuring your possessions (which, in our case, are by-and-large books) and temporary living options.  Hence, moments after our apartment was flooded, we called up this insurance company to cash-in on what we had been paying for over the past three years.  Our possessions were itemized and boxed; we were sent off to a random hotel suite in downtown Toronto, courtesy of said insurance company, while the building insurance kicked in to take care of the wear-and-tear of our home.

Despite the dislocation caused by this experience, it is still nothing compared to what would have happened had we lived in another context where "insurance" institutions are unheard of, or even in our same context without being able to afford such insurance.  Nor does insurance really matter, particularly in the way it has been able to escape from multiple claims, in large scale situations of social unrest such as what was experienced by New Orleans' New Afrikan population in the wake of Katrina.  Point being, my shitty situation is not even close to as shitty as it could be; events and disasters beyond our control are always mediated by economic privilege.  (Hell, if we were richer we would be back in our home already and, having the money to afford faster and better contractors, the place would already be fixed rather than languishing, as it has been for a month, in a state of disrepair while we wonder when our own insurance provider will decide that the money they have earmarked for temporary housing has run out.)  We are not refugees as we would have been had certain social facts been different: my mother-in-law––whose family were indeed refugees who fled to Lebanon during the Nakbah, and who were then further uprooted from Lebanon during its civil war––sometimes likes to remind us of this, in her own encouraging way, from time to time.