My refurbished shoulder and second-hand third eye

All the outdoor time has been on two bicycle wheels. Pavement. Nothing slick. Limited still by the healing shoulder, and limiting my outdoor fun to the permission from the physician. Crossing the river into the evergreen state:

Walking the neighborhood as well. This is just great — the third big mac attack in the neighborhood in as many weeks:

It reminds me of the Lou Reed lyric, where I think he interprets some graffiti as “It’s hard to give a shit these days.” But really, is that the sentiment of the litterbug here, or of McDonald’s? Maybe both. Or, McDonald’s sentiment is likely “We don’t give a shit once the transaction is complete.”

Early morning walks in the neighborhood. Ending work weeks with a 5:00 sandwich at the bar:

Urban, neighborhood life for now. It’s still rainy anyway though. I predict being able to carry a backpack into wilderness within a month or so. Walking the neighborhood mostly for now. In residential zoning. This zoning is used more and more by the tourism, leisure and hospitality industry. Specifically, the online-reserved BnBs. It’s become pretty common. I used to ride daily by a house whose finish I really liked. It was a stain or oil instead of paint. One day the occupant was walking to his car as I rode by, so I stopped and asked him what the finish was. He said he had no idea, he was just staying at the BnB. The house was another of the countless online-reserved BnBs. A house that’s no longer a home. The owner-investor probably lives out of state. This trend has to be putting much pressure on housing stock. Housing availability and accessibility, i.e., in terms of quantity and price. And it’s just one source of such pressure. There are others, like flippers and conventional landlords/rental owners. I think that if it’s not regulated into control, eventually only the wealthy will own even tiny houses, let alone something like an 800 or 1200 sq. ft. house. Eventually, not even all the wealthy will be able to find a home to buy. Houses will be more like shares of housing stock. It’ll give the term “housing stock” a new meaning.

Somehow I find myself in a position to talk to state health/social services heads and other leadership, and they just don’t follow or for some other reason have no interest in the subject even though its resulting poverty and homelessness affect their workload by increasing health and mental health care needs. It’s not that complicated, I’m not enlightened or anything; if I can figure it out with my hurting, repaired shoulder and second-hand third eye, then the heads/leadership should be able to. Here’s the simple concept that’s unsuccessfully conveyed: if you don’t prevent or decrease house flippers scalping houses, or rental owner-investors from hoarding houses for tourism/leisure and hospitality (online reserved BnBs), and conventional rental price gouging, then housing prices will keep rising to a point where only the wealthy can afford even an 800-sq. ft. home; and the ranks of the poor and homeless will increase, along with the associated health problems. Instead of slowing this ranks increase and reversing it by regulating housing investors, you’re just taking a palliative approach: heavier social services caseloads for the growing ranks, giving them counseling, pharma chemicals, chemical detox services, while indirectly subsidizing flippers, landlords and the tourism industry (BnBs) by building [temporarily] affordable housing for and issuing housing vouchers to those pushed under the poverty line partly by these housing investors. But affordable housing will be just temporarily affordable, because root causes (flippers, price-gouging landlords, tourism BnBs) are undeterred as public health and social service agencies just continue with a palliative approach (social services, pharma chemicals distribution, pharma chemical detox, construction of [temporarily] affordable housing). It’s one thing for a social services agency to not fill a non-traditional, economic regulatory role; it’s another for it to not even approach the sister state agency that should be regulating.

Somehow I still enjoy my frivolous hiking and riding. But I don’t think it needs justifying. And speaking of third eyes, I think my helmets actually cover mine. And I bet that protects it rather than presses on it. It’s not like the tight plastic band of an backwardly worn baseball cap is scraping against it or something.


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