Saturday, November 14, 2009


Another week gone by. Time is moving really fast. I think as I get older I see that happening more and more. I don’t like that it gets dark at 4:30 now. We try to leave as quickly as possible once work ends because being in this neighborhood after dark is not the best idea. I saw some people getting arrested on the drive in a few days ago. There are such interesting power dynamics here with the cops. It is pretty much always a white cop arresting a younger looking black male. I heard the other day from a co-worker that a house in this area five years ago went for $120,000 and is now not selling for $40,000. Things are tough all around for the people in this neighborhood. I have had several appointments at doctor’s offices for various things the past few weeks, and something I am learning is that if you are poor or seeking services in a poor area, you wait a long time for things and people are not nice to you. Going to a public health clinic for any reason means I am inconveniencing the people who work there, and I can expect to wait an hour after my scheduled appointment time before I am seen by a professional for services. They get through me, and anyone else there, as fast as they can. We are numbers, not people. Which means we don’t warrant kindness. It is so different from middle-class white America. And I am uncomfortable and frustrated with how drastic the difference is.

At work we share an office with a great woman named Veronica who does lots of job training and computer classes here so there are always people coming in and out to talk to her. Its sad how common the story of “I’m living on food stamps as a single mother and don’t have any income” is. There is this one guy named Patrick that comes in often to help out. I think he used to be homeless, and his teeth are black on one side because he was struck by lightning. Veronica calls him St. Patrick because of how kind he has been in the face of massive difficulties. He has a crush on Rebecca and I and sometimes buys us sweets from the gas station. He also frequently tells us we are cuter than a basketful of puppies. We don’t know who we will meet when we go in for work every day!

We are hosting a blood drive on November 23 with the University of Chicago interfaith Club. I am pretty excited about it. Every two seconds a person in the USA needs blood, and we are going to have educational stuff about malaria as a blood borne illness and what people can do about that. I think it is a creative connection between the local and the global and people can tangibly help our neighborhood by giving blood. I would lead the way and give blood myself, but having had malaria means I can’t which is kind of a bummer. We are hoping quite a few people show up.

Perfect weather this weekend in Chicago. I am afraid I am too used to fall and have still not bought any winter clothes. I am going to hate myself the first time it snows, but until then I am not buying a coat!

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