A rat ran AT me as I got out of my car. I said “goodmorning sunshine” to him. Thankfully, he is the only thing that has tried to attack me so far. The street is becoming less threatening and the people are becoming less foreign. But I still have biases, which surprises someone like me who prides herself in thinking outside the box and being open to the varied experiences of culture in the city of lost angels.
One small bias was put to shame as I walked with Eric to the shelter. Turns out he is a marine. I hang my head in shame for thinking any differently. Of course, I now assume that if I prodded enough I would find that playfulness I expect of the proud few. I just have to dig beneath his coat of street armor. Hoorah.
I was asked out on a date today. Twice. I’m telling you, forget the online dating sites, if a girl wants a date a shelter is the place to be! As long as you are attracted to men twice your age who are currently unemployed, you’ll be in heaven. Of course, I hear 20% of folks in this city are unemployed, so you probably get that on dating sites too.
The first gentleman wore a fedora hat so he was my favorite. Granted, I think he was very near my grandfather’s age– which was a little creepy– but a felon can’t be picky, right? He offered to take me out to a steakhouse. I can’t even remember the last time I had a juicy steak. He asked me in the polite manner you would expect from the greatest generation. Sadly, I declined, since it wouldn’t be polite to bring my two children with me on a first date. Although, I had a feeling that if I said as much, he might have actually invited them to join us. He was very sweet and very, well, childlike himself.
The second fellah was the one who asked me if I was looking for a hard working man the day I wore pigtails. He was apparently not a big spender because he asked me if I would like to come home with him and cook him a nice meal. I avoided pointing out the obvious– that he had no home– and focused more on the principle of the issue. I reminded him kindly that I had already told him I was not taking any applications. He smiled politely and winked and reminded me to keep him informed whenever I was.
There was a third guy. But he didn’t ask me out on a date. He asked me, demandingly, “give me a boy. I have two daughters. If you carry a boy for me I’ll pay you ten thousand dollars.” I placed this in the “offer of work” category instead of the “date offer” category because he offered to pay me. And I DO need ten thousand dollars to pay off my restitution. But I declined because a pregnant belly would get in the way of my mop and broom down here. I think he was disappointed because he told his budies who kept trying to ask me for him. I know sons are important, but I’m just too busy right now. Classy.
When I asked for a good man, I think I forgot to specify in my prayers that I was looking for a good man who is not currently homeless. Although, that also isn’t saying much since I’m technically homeless and unemployed myself. And a single mother. God has a sense of humor. I’m going to redact that prayer and ask the God just give me Himself in loving measure instead.
If another person compares me to Lindsey Lohan, I just might scream as loud as someone out of her mind on Skid Row. Because I would be.
Perhaps it’s because I’m white and doing community service at a shelter. But that is right where the comparisons end. And Dr. Konrad Murray is not a midwife. He doesn’t even catch babies. We have nothing at all in common.
At the end of the day Charlie and I talked about what it was like for him to be there for Katrina. Babies ripped from mothers’ arms and never seen again, why people didn’t leave beforehand, why there was no aid for over a month. Heavy stuff. Apocalyptic sounding from one who experienced it firsthand. Glad he survived.
I’m almost halfway done and I’m starting to regret the end. I will miss these people when the time comes to leave here. I awake in the morning excited to see them, dirty bathrooms and all. Some punishment.