what is your name, age, weight, blood type, family of origin, favorite food and sleeping habit?

I’m being put through the ringer – for a room.

At my next pending residence lives a divorced man who shares custody of a daughter, 9. I’ve been asked to provide personal information (including full name and Social Security number) for a background check, for which he is paying.

Additionally, I’ve been asked for as many recent employer and landlord contacts as I can provide. (Given that I’m both new to the area and was without work for three years, he’s agreed to cut me some slack and half a handful, which still seems like overkill from where I sit, with the knowledge of who I am.)

When I replied that I’d rather provide contacts of my former Tacoma (WA) landlords from whom I rented for three years rather than present landlord, the expression of askance could not go unobserved.

I explained my reasons with an abbreviated recap of Daniel’s actions, including kicking me out so that he can move in his brother with 9 days’ notice at Thanksgiving in a text message.

“That’s not legal,” he noted.

Exactly (and two points to him for recognizing that).

Daniel’s actions speak of and to who he is. I told him that I don’t respect my current landlord; neither does he know me, regardless of time together. I do not and would not want Daniel as a character witness or reference for that reason: I do not respect him (even though he is deemed and viewed as an authority and credible reference in his position as landlord.*) Note: Respect is earned, not given; he falls way way short of that bar.

(*No. I look for inner character; titles and positions of authority get you nothing from me save a passing nod and yes, that attitude has stirred up nasty pots and landed me in hot water plenty of times!)

So future pending roommate consented to ride with the Tacoma landlords. This collection of contact information is now to be turned over now to his former wife, who will reportedly make the calls.

In addition, I am to meet her before the room is turned over to me.

For the third degrees and security hoops-jumping, you’d think I was being considered for a position at the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)!

It’s a room in a house!

I understand the concerns of a father and most intimately a mother’s, absolutely. A stranger is moving into the home, a good and caring parent would want to establish the trustworthiness of a cohabitator and ensure the safety of the child.

However, if they talked with me for even 30 minutes, 5 or 10 for an astute individual, they’d realize that these steps are over the top.

If they knew even .001 percent of my story and experiences in life, they’d be taking me in, offering shelter, food and kindness rather than sweating me under the bright lightbulb.

He does know a little about my story; she knows less and will know more when we meet this afternoon.

Be that as it is, there are better ways to scrutinize one’s character than sift through background checks and reference calls to every Tom, Dick and Harry associated with the candidate.

Instinct. Gut response. That which does not involve the head but the heart.

I admit I’m prejudiced. As an exceptionally good judge of character (that includes you!) and gifted with keen radar and sense of smell, I “forget” that others/the majority areen’t as honed in or skillful at deciphering signals and reading character.

The mother, with whom I’ve spoken only by phone, strikes me as a worrier, puttting therefore the extended security process into context. It’s not uncommon for those who worry to implement and/or rely on external protocol, measures A B and C and steps 1 2 and 3 rather than the finer and more refined God-given instincts and intelligence.

Or do I once again assume too much?

Anyhow, the gist is that I’m finding these security clearances over the top for a room in a house and specifically for me, the person I am and is visible to those who see and listen.

Here’s a thought. What do I know about this man, he who now has my full name, DOB and SS number? In the wrong hands, that information can destroy you, your life and your future.

So I’ll be asking her a few questions of my own when we meet today. Is he one to go off the deep end? If he is, what does he do? What is he capable of?

Marcy. Kris. Sherrol. Daniel. I’ve been subjected to, and to my credit survived, more than a fair share of others’ fucked-up, neurotic and deeply disturbing and hurtful behaviors and characters lately. I couldn’t know what they were capable of until I lived with them or became involved.

Who’s to say that the next fellow is or isn’t of their ilk? Except perhaps the former wife.

My radar will be up and on meeting with her today.

In the meantime, I can’t help but find these extensive security steps a little invasive and over the top and unnecessary if only they were paying more attention to me and not the paperwork/process. I’m a really good person. Different. Someone who has lived a very hard life and would never in a trillion years endanger their child or engage in that of which I know personally.

The heart has ears and eyes of its own. Goodness shines through and is easily perceived by others.

I’d like to think so anyhow; truth is, it’s not the case on this planet. Terribly sad.



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cruisekitten
    Dec 27, 2011 @ 13:12:54

    It is quite the tragedy that kindness is often missed or ignored in this world.



  2. Flamingo Dancer
    Dec 27, 2011 @ 17:43:40

    Wife might want to make sure you aren’t stepmother material! In Australia, anyone who works with children, and that means mothers who volunteer at schools, have to have a blue card, which is a criminal check through the police. No blue card, no work. Apparently it is to screen out perverts etc. but obviously the weakness is that it only picks up people who have been caught previously, not the ones still to be caught.


    • allycatadventures
      Dec 27, 2011 @ 18:40:17

      @FD – Same thing here — background hoops to jump through if you work with children, tutoring , seniors in facilities for example as a housekeeper, plain ol’ housekeeping, the list is long in the gold ol’ Sue Happy U.S. of A. And you’re right, checks only return listed offenders, not those with those proclivities, neither those who haven’t yet been caught.


  3. SuperSparky
    Dec 27, 2011 @ 21:38:56

    Let them do the checks. In fact, welcome them. Be proud you have nothing to hide and are a great person. They will have the comfort they need.

    Now, may I remind you that you thought your former landlords weren’t so bad either, but “suddenly” went nuts? OK, may I suggest that perhaps your judge of character was skewed a bit there? Some of the worst predators can be the “nicest” and most personable of people. You can just never know. To have a child, means to make absolutely sure, and keep that child safe, no matter what intuition tells you.

    Predators and those expert in the con job, know how to press people’s trust buttons and make them think they are trustworthy. Those who deal with or have been suckered by a predator will tell you that they seemed like the nicest and most trustworthy person. They have to seem that way, if they want to be successful at being a predator.

    Also, background checks are only limited by how much you are willing to pay. Trust me, if there is any dirt on someone, then it will be found, IF the searcher is willing to pay for an in depth search. Most do a superficial search, as they are affordable.


    • allycatadventures
      Dec 27, 2011 @ 23:01:01

      @sparky- may I remind you that you thought your former landlords weren’t so bad either, but “suddenly” went nuts? — not true. Which is to say, in 2 of 3 situations, I was there only because it was the only door that opened in sub-par to desperate situations and in the one where there was a choice, it was one of lesser evils, shall we say. Very important to understand that lack of choice rather than lack of character assessments have been the deciding forces.

      My choices now are little greater. Difference is that my wariness is increased 100 fold, which has its advantages. From the traumas has come growth. That’s all on that.

      Circumstances outside our control and making can forces us into situations and choices that we would not otherwise choose. Witness professionals begging for jobs at Radio Shacks for example. When one understands that, one grows in compassion and understanding. I know I have from my housing and joblessness, boyh.


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