Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Well, the phone thing is fixed.  I faxed.  They fixed. 

I found a place yesterday afternoon, after mentoring and laundry.  I was on my way, quite out of my way, to the office supply store when I realized that we have a public-use fax machine at our library.

I am such a macaroon.

Around the block and back towards home. 

Today I was working with a client (at the same library where I faxed...I am a whole box of macaroons) when my phone made a noise.  Not sure what it is supposed to be, but it alerts me when a call comes in and I have muffled the ringer.  No, that is not right.  What the heck is that called?  I muted the phone.  Yeah.  The call was from the fone company and they left a voice mail.  I grabbed a pen and started to write the number they wanted me to call and gave me a code/extension number and said that I had two weeks before the code/extension number expired.

Unfortunately, I could only understand, even after three listens, the first three numbers and the code/extension number.  So, I did what any normal macaroon would do and I called the number that was on my caller I.D.

Thirty minutes, two disconnections and four people who I had trouble understanding later, I finally spoke to a woman who told me that they had restored the minutes for which I had paid.  I could barely hear her and she said that was because there was a problem with her phone and I asked if she could transfer me to someone else and she said that she could not and I am sitting there, images of the minutes rolling off somewhere and she finally asked me if there was anything else she could do for me and if I wanted to purchase more minutes.  Ummm, no.  She asked me why, and I am sitting there wondering what the heck is going on, why is she asking me when the the whole mess is about a defective minutes card.  In the first place.  Man.

So, by this time, that half-hour gone, I said no thank you.   And, then she tells me about how good their service is, and I am sitting there thinking the truth is that this sort of mess is a fluke, so I kind of get that she is trying to be nice to a customer who had a problem.  But, she would not quit and I struggled to understand what she was saying and between the connection and her accent, that was simply not going to happen.  Finally, I thanked her and she said "O.K." and the conversation was over and I disconnected.

A minute later my phone rang and it was the same fone company number, so I answered and it was a woman, I think, who said that we had been disconnected and I explained that it was fine, that I had finally connected with someone and it turned out to be the same, last woman who had not finished her sales pitch.  I said that was fine, but I was not interested.  She persisted and I told her that when my current balance of minutes was used, that I would probably be finding a new provider, and that we needed to end the conversation because all of this was eating up my minutes. 

So, she said that she was crediting my account with fifteen minutes to compensate and I thanked her and I said "good-bye" and she told me to have a nice day.  When I checked the minutes, she had credited me with fifty minutes and I nearly called back to correct it to the half hour and, well, I just gave up.  I get an extra half hour and they do not have to deal with me again.  I am certain that this makes them exponentially happier than I am. 

My life is so stupid. 

Except that I had wonderful clients today.  I can hardly express what a blessing these people are for me.  One is a man who comes most weeks and I help him use the computer and we have virtually exhausted the companies in our city that are hiring.  He has had many interviews, including three call-backs for interviews with the same company.  The job for which he applied was an in-house hire, but someone is looking at résumés, or passing his information to other departments, because the last two interviews were for different jobs with that company.  The interview was on Monday and they promised to contact him, one way or the other, within two weeks.

Were it in my power, he would be already working somewhere.  He is working harder at finding a job than anyone with whom I have worked.  He deserves to have a meaningful job.  There are so many people who deserve that, to be employed and able to take care of themselves and their families.  Man, they better hire him.

My work is so frustrating some days.  I spend time most days researching jobs here at home, because job listings change all the time, often within hours, and I stress that we might be missing a posting.  I pass them on via e-mail to my clients.  I am not saying that constant vigilance is going to make any kind of difference, but to work with people who happen to be unemployed of often just plain heartbreaking.  Another man this afternoon told me that last night he prayed that I would be a nice person.  He said that he had gone somewhere else and they were dismissive of him because of his inexperience using a computer and he thought it also had something to do with his age.

He is probably right.  Just makes me ill.  I am trying so hard tonight to not be sad and discouraged.  About anything.  CoolCat and I have a home.  Not much more than that, but we really have everything we absolutely need.  We are not homeless.  We have not experience a tornado or violence or extreme illness or disability.  I know how lucky we are, and I do not take anything for granted.  You know, I do not need to fix anything, but I would like to make a difference.  Most days.  I think I do that.  Most days.

I carry these people, this work home with me.  I try to avoid attachments to people and their problems, but sometimes the comparison with how they struggle and how good my life is shames me sometimes.  I do have balance and perspective, but there has to be some kind of solutions to all of this unemployment.  This stuff keeps me up at night. 

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