Saturday, May 14, 2005
I woke up at noon, to the Little Punk calling me about tutoring. (I went to bed at 3:00, so it's only fair).
Here's what a nice girl I am. It was his (L.P.'s) birthday on Tuesday. On Monday I was supposed to tutor him but was feeling sick and miserable and so my mom called on my behalf to cancel. I am fortunate to still be young enough so that my mom can call and cancel stuff for me. Actually, she just about never does that. She only did it this time because his mom is her friend, and they go way back. She lied and said I had the stomach flu or something. Works for me.
L.P. was supposed to get arrested for dealing drugs on Monday after he was caught in a park with individually-wrapped bags of pot a few weeks ago. The lawyer got him out of it and he didn't get photographed or fingerprinted and now only has to do community service. His reaction to this was: "Community service sucks." Someone really ought to have pointed out that getting raped and initiated in juvie is a hell of a lot worse, but for some reason no one did.
So I missed his birthday, but spent much of yesterday at work trying to find a book for him that would a) have appropriate content for his interests, b) have a decent but not terribly didactic moral in it somewhere, b) be easy to read, and c) have large print and big spaces between the lines. I found him a book and am going to wrap it up for his birthday. I fear he will hate it, of course, but what the hell else was I going to get him, some gangsta rap? I'm trying to be a positive influence on the life of a kid who wishes he was actually from the ghetto instead of from a nice, middle-to-upperclass neighbourhood in the most affluent city on the West Coast. Am I nice, or just totally insane?
Remember that guy who sleeps outside the drugstore who I gave some tylenol to the other day? Well, I see him every morning now, and every morning he has a different sign up about how he would rather beg than steal but doesn't make enough money to eat, let alone save. Many of the politicians in this town would tell you he is lazy, stupid, and a parasite, and that he ought not to be given welfare under any circumstances. But the thing is, they don't know his story. Not the half of it. What if he came from a conservative family and they found out he was gay and before he was even out of high school they kicked him out of the house? What then? What are you supposed to do with no money, no college diploma, no high school graduation, no training, and no adults to protect you? What if he was a disabled foster kid who was left to his own devices at 18 without an education or anywhere to go? What do you do if you can't fill out a disability benefits form, and what do you do if you don't even know that you qualify? We have the luxury of saying these kinds of people are lazy. But we simply don't know where they come from or how they ended up this way.
I've been asking everyone in the office if they drive to work or take the bus. This is not because I'm looking for a carpool. I'm interested as to how many of the people I work with get off the bus and walk past this kid sleeping on the sidewalk every day and do nothing. Not because I want to accuse them. But because I want to know if any of them ever have the urge to help him. I have it. I NEED to do something to help this kid. I'd like to buy him breakfast. Do you think he would appreciate it? I don't want to be condescending or rude. I would ask him what he wanted in advance and I would get him exactly what he liked to eat. None of the can of baked beans and tomato juice crap that ends up at the food bank. Why not give him a break, for one day in his miserable life?
I even wonder if this is smart from a security point of view. I suppose I can always give him a fake name and not tell him where I work. And he did say he would rather beg than steal. I'd have to get to work early to do this. I really don't want to have him misinterpret the whole thing.
I am completely thinking out loud here. I'm not sure that you wish to be privy to these kinds of thoughts, but they are the kind of thoughts I carry around with me every day.
I always get these silly desires to be nice to people. I know that when you are nice and you open yourself up, people just take and take and take. I know because it happens to me all the time. I suppose I just keep hoping that some day I will come across another person who also wants to give back.
The other thing I want to do is get something for Julie to thank her for training me. I realise it's her job and she had no choice in the matter, but she could have done it and been surly and short and rude with me, and no one would have known the difference except the young and vulnerable rookie. But she didn't do that. She was kind and patient and witty and actually carried on conversations with me. She likes this bracelet that I have that has my name spelled out in pink and blue rhinestones. I got it in Calgary and have no idea where to find them here. But she commented on it one day and said she wanted one with her full name, and not the nickname they give her in the store (because two other girls have the same one!). I will actually try to track it down and buy one for her. They're cheap, and it's the least I can do.
So there you go guys. Heart on the table. Four chambers, two atria and two ventricles. Go ahead and dissect if you like. But remember that if you were here I'd be nice to you too.
My field trip out to Richmond last night was not a very fun journey. I had to wait 25 minutes at the bus stop with a bunch of stoned kids who were yelling and punching each other, and once I finally got on it the bus was crowded with people who all smelled bad in different ways, and about half a dozen North Africans who kept yelling at the bus driver from the back of the bus in a language that didn't sound even vaguely familiar.
The actual time in Richmond was nice. We had pizza, met up with a girl from my English class who also did Storm the Wall, and drove around by the river for a while. Nothing too crazy, but nice. We avoided the bar with many hoochie-looking girls and a long lineup. Good call there.
I've given up on the poll. Prizes will have to wait.
I might fuck around with my template today. I haven't quite decided.