I’m feeling a bit down in the mouth today.
The sky was spitting as I walked skid row this morning. Little smudges of humanity skidded muddily all up and down the sidewalk and into the gutters. Their faces were like muddied watercolors on a grey piece of parchment.
Rain actually means less work to do at the shelter. The gate was locked to all but those who secured beds. The shelter discourages sitting in the rain. I can’t imagine the clients want to sit in the rain anyway.
When the rain subsided I tried to make up things to do since I had been left idle most of the morning. I scooped up fallen leaves and swept water into rain gutters. Perhaps this is what led to my sadness… the insufferable idleness. I have never been able to just sit.
I am reduced to two dimensions at the shelter by most folks. I’m either praised for my beauty, sexually preyed upon, asked out on a date… OR… I’m viewed as too good to include. References to Lindsey Lohan, my “parking tickets” (how everyone seems to assume I got here), my home in West L.A. (don’t I wish!), and today: my BMW, abound.
There are so few people who understand where I’m coming from. The word “felony” pre-supposes something. Wait a minute. It IS something. Innocent until proven guilty. I was proven at this point. There is no more demand for absolution. It doesn’t exist. I am a felon. Period.
And that thought propels me into trying to find other felons. Someplace I “belong.”
Rejected by the people of California. Paying my dues to the nameless, faceless victims who were saved from my midwifery practice. Being told I need to prove that I have been reformed. Reformed from what? From thinking for myself? From honoring someone’s rights? From protecting someone in danger? From trying to do my best?
The only person at the shelter I seem to see my reflection in appears too frightened to open up to me since he has a son my age. There are some life experiences that remove the barriers of age, race, gender, personality. There are certain depths that bond people together to the point that you recognize your own pain in them without saying a word.
My old roommate once said he could recognize someone who had been institutionalized by just seeing them from a distance. I didn’t believe him. Now I do.
I can see the ones whose best was not enough.