This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I’ve had my new-to-me car for less than a month and it’s already been been violated in a most horrific way. 

The other morning, after a stress-filled drive to school, whereby I agonized over where best to park, I sat trying to calm my nerves. Actually every morning that I get to school, I just sit for awhile, pondering life (ie: checking all of my social media, promising myself I’ll get out after just one more song, and savoring my coffee-my life blood). 

I feel, before I go on, I should explain why I spent my entire drive agonizing over where to park. Simply put, I work in da hood. It’s not all bad. Just like nice neighborhoods aren’t all good. However, I’ve heard one too many stories about teacher’s cars being keyed, shootings, and our school has already been vandalized and broken into-numerous times. 

I love my school, my students, and our community, but it’s not exactly Mayberry. Not even close. 

Well, there I sat, watching a video on how to make hash brown egg cups on Facebook, and my car starts shaking. Like serious, “don’t come a’knocking shaking”. It’s not every day that you get your own personal earthquake or theme park ride, so it took a minute to get my bearings. When I realize my new car, with me in it, isn’t about to be swallowed by a sink hole, I look into my rearview mirror to see a head-barely visible over my back end. 

I get out and see some kid shaking my car. He’s literally bumping up against it like a remote control car stuck in a corner. I’m so pissed, all I say is, “GET OUTTA HERE” *insert Brooklyn accent*. This hoodlum didn’t realize the car was inhabited, so I’m sure he was shitting his pants as he ran out of sight. 

After telling this story to numerous people-fellow colleagues, my boyfriend, my family-they all had the same questions for me, “Why didn’t you question him, demand his name, drag him to the office?”

Let me just list the reasons why: 

  1. It was 7:00 AM-our office was empty
  2. He was a middle school kid-not under my/our particular authority
  3. I am scared of retaliation 

This misguided young man was likely trying to make my car alarm go off, to what end-it could be various reasons. Maybe he just thought it would be fun. Maybe he looks for cars that aren’t alarmed for someone who steals them. Maybe he simply has no regard or respect for others and their belongings. Actually, that last hypothesis would apply to all possible reasons he felt the need to molest my car. 

I would be laughing about this (the look on his face was pretty awesome), but I’m actually fearful that my new car will be damaged while parked at my place of employment. That’s a pretty shitty feeling.

In fact, everyday I notice possible new scratches and dings. I can’t blame them all on immoral creeps, as its definitely possible they were there before I bought the car. I didn’t inspect every inch of it with a magnifying glass, but I did look for noticeable imperfections. I’m 99% sure this was not present upon buying my car 

  
We live in a world where so few people have respect for others. It’s my fear that good, moral, thoughtful people will soon be extinct. 

Kids can be shits, I get it. I once stuck a thumbtack in my preschool teacher’s bum, simply because it was right in my face as she bent over, I was rolling a tack between my thumb and pointer finger, and I was a scientist-I wanted to know what would happen (BIG trouble, is what happened). 

While I’ve been guilty of my fair share of wrong-doing, I can confidently say I’ve never had the urge to damage someone else’s property. Never. Not once. 

Instead of be pissed/upset/stressed about this disgusting lack of regard for MY property, I am going to simply regard my car as a useful mode of transportation that gets me from point A to point B. Instead of daydreaming about how pretty she is, I’ll instead remember what is really important in life: my family, my friends, my health, and my strong morals and values. Also, a car is simply a material object that I am lucky to have. Some people don’t even own shoes. First world problems, and all that. 

While I suffer the results of lack of guidance and respect, I will continue to guide and teach respect to my students, because what else can I do? I am honored to be in the position where I have the possibility to change someone’s life for the better, every single day. Key my car, go for it. I’ll just be over here continuing to teach your children to do better, be better. Win. 

Harvey

Harvey: I’m-m-m-m gonna w-w-w-whoop yer a-a-a-ass at cards.

Wayne: OK, sir. I bet you will. That’s a mighty fine hat you have there (referring to the man’s fabulous, pointy Andes-style earflap hat colored pink and turquoise) ┬áCan you tell me about it?

Harvey: Oh, this h-h-h-hat is, is mighty f-i-i-i-ne. It covers m-m-m-my bald spot!

Wayne: That does make a hat pretty useful.

Attendant: Harvey, tell him what your hat is really for.

Harvey: It’s r-r-r-really (as he moves in close to whisper) a ch-ch-ch-chick m-a-a-agnet.

Harvey laughs so hard, the attendant caring for him has to turn his oxygen back on.

This was an honest-to-goodness coversation had between my boyfriend and an elderly man who had to be pushing 100.

My grandma passed away two years ago after years of battling dementia, a cruel, truly demented disease. My grandma died many years before we laid her to rest. Dementia robbed her of her memories, her ability to reason, her ability to know her own children. It wasn’t until the grandma I knew and loved was gone from her blue eyes did I realize what I had lost.

Every single day, I drive downtown and I see elderly men and women living on the streets. I watch, long before I pass, to make sure they make it, slowly, across the street. They are in rags held together by their own filth. They are cold, hot, confused and beyond mistreated.

Why are our elderly living on the streets, abused in retirement homes, and left to rot in the back bedroom? Being of advanced age should be an honor, not a curse feared worse than leprosy (or is ebola a more relevant disease?). Being the elder should come with built-in respect and hospitality. We should be housing our grandparents in accomodations far better than our own. We should be teaching our youth to revere them like gods. They are our past and our future. They are old and wrinkly. They can be as mean as a dog shitting tacks, and they are painfully slow. They are also brilliant and worldly. They know what it means to do without and still find happiness. They understand and love a world without TV, without smartphones, a world in which you sat down and wrote a damn letter. In cursive. We have so much to learn from our elderly, yet they are withering away in our streets and in dusty rooms under lock and key.

I would give anything to go back to my 8-year-old self, during the summer it was just me and Grams at the cabin. I would slow down and really taste her tomato and noodle soup. I would take off my discman headphones and listen to her story about Grandpa. I would make my bed and vacuum without being asked. I would scoop her a bowl of ice cream and add the dry Nesquick she liked so much. I would wash the Ziplock baggies without complaining. I would take her dry, soft, wrinkled hand in mine and say, “Let’s go pick honeysuckle, Grandma, just you and me”.

To have been able to witness the exchange between Harvey and my boyfriend would have been a real treasure. Just two young lads relating about the trials of life, love and the pursuit of women. Just two young lads.