I live in a small city with little going for it; a bunch of people trying desperately to hold on to yesterday’s lost bliss and traditions. They are stagnant. Oops! I should not say that. Our town has three Starbucks. I watched an interview on Sunday with the CEO of Starbucks. I learned that your town is booming if you have a Starbucks. That is bull crap to my ears. I just do not feel the urge to pay six dollars, or more, for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. That is for the rich yuppies. I have been in many Starbucks. Not many black people are seen in Starbucks? Not necessarily a black person hang out. Coffee is too damn expensive especially when I can make it for weeks myself by buying a can of coffee.
Speaking of expensive, my son the quarterback, got asked to attend the all star bowls. Wow! What an honor. Yes! He is my son, but I feel vindicated that others notice he is great too. However, the games are out of the country in Mexico. To remind my readers, I am a member of the educated, unemployables. I cannot find a job; therefore, I have no money. So, how is my child going to go to these games?
Being the kind soul he is, he claims he really does not want to go. Yet, I know better. He lives football. The bowls would top off his blessed career. Okay! I confess. I feel sorry for myself. I want my son to attend the Bowl games. More so, I want to see him play. I am too old to sell my body (and my husband might object). So what are my options? Ask my family and friends for help. Then I remember I have hardly any family. I am the black sheep of the family. Anyone without a “real” job has to be trifling and insignificant. Family is out! Thus, there are my friends. Wow, are we in trouble. I have wonderful friends, but they too are mainly like me and I would not trade them for money.
My husband and I were coming home from attending our son’s last away college football game of his career. We drove six hours. On the way back, we stopped to empty our bodies of urine. Outside of the gas station was a petite woman in her late twenties. We locked eyes as I walked by going into the station. She was sitting on the ground wrapped up apparently warmly in various dingy blankets, but looked still ever so cold. She had a circular nose ring in her nose and the kindest eyes. I finished what I was doing and headed back to the car. My husband, who has a kind heart, stopped at the lady and tried to put money in her bowl. I stopped him. He looked at me questionably. I told him he was about to put money in the dog bowl full of water. I apologized as he handed her what little money we had to give. Next to her was a lump of somebody we never saw. She was very protective of it. Again she smiled at me. I smiled back lingering with my glaze on her thin, ashen face.
I felt a kinship with her. She was a petite, gothic dressed woman. Just her face was laminated in the dark. Briefly, I amalgamated with her. A flick of an eye was all. Perhaps I saw myself in her gentle, clear eyes. With us possibly losing our home, will I be out on the street with our dogs too? Will I be sitting at the gas station begging? I felt no shame for her. I felt no pity. To me she was just a person awaiting an opportunity. I wanted to hug her. I was fulfilled for that sudden recognizable sister bond, though I knew nothing of her.
People with my education generally stick their noses in the air at people like her. The haves stubbing the have-nots. As I am a member of the “have-nots,” I see many people looking down their noses at me. People who believe they are better than me; yet, know absolutely nothing of my life. It takes but one phrase to change their life for the worse, “Didn’t you get the email?”
I wanted to talk with the woman, to have a heart to heart conversation about life. I wish I were able to learn her story. She has chutzpah. It was so cold out that day. The rain was blowing. The wind was whipping my thick hair in my face. It was dark. Still, she was in a spot at the door for the world to see her. To me, she was proud. Not afraid to do what most of us fear. I wanted to give her more. I had none to give. But we allied ever so briefly.
Unbelievably quickly, she gave me the audacity to ask for what I need to help my son try to get to his bowl games. Things have been terrible lately for my family. Nonetheless, my encounter with the hauntingly, remarkable lady in the blankets, taught me to “keep on keeping on” –to continue putting my right foot forward anyway. Not to allow anyone to make me feel less of a person or less of whom I am. After all, it is not my butt sitting on that cold sidewalk yet. And if that day does come, I hope it is fall when the colors are beautiful, the days are not too hot and I have my doggie.