Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eighteenth day of Lent: What am I supposed to do?

Visitors from a camera club have been touring the building. They find the walls intriguing. A perfect place to display photos. Seems like it would work.
Two visitors have approached, Teddy gives them a short tour. One more of those never saw the doors open before visits. 
Danielle is telling a woman she doesn’t speak Spanish. But that I do. I ask her ques es su problema, senora? And in heavily Eastern European accented English, she tells me she doesn’t speak Spanish. She’s got a phone card and when she dials, a voice speaks to her in Spanish. But doesn’t it give you an English option? I ask. Doesn’t it say Para Espanol empuje numero uno, para Ingles, empuje numero dos, or something like that? 
So what button do I push for English? she asks again.
Finally Danielle looks at the card says, Look, those top numbers are for Spanish, you need to use these lower numbers, at the bottom... 
She thanks Danielle profusely. This lady has saved me again. She introduces herself as Helena and I realize that she is the Polish woman Danielle has been telling me about. The one who comes in to pray. The one who has this special relationship with the Virgin Mary. 
And sure enough, she tells me a long involved story about the Holy Mother directing her to a spring. Miles from Krackow, her home. A woman whose daughter is in the hospital with a burst appendix. Filled with sepsis and pain. The doctors have give up hope, nothing more to do. The little girl is thirsty. Helena touches her lips with the water from the spring. She doesn’t die. Within two days, the daughter is fine. Released to go home. The doctors say it is a miracle. That’s all it could be. They are men of science. But the Holy Mother did this. Helena is glowing as she tells me this. Touched by the spirit. 
Before she starts in on another story, RL comes through to talk about his proposal to rent a rehearsal space, have a place to lock up his instruments. I’m starting to wonder what will go where. And I’m feeeling sorry that we’ve got a Center meeting the same night as his birthday. It’s very important to him that Danielle and I be there. With anyone else who will have you, he says to me. 
I step outside with Teddy. We have to get the Exit signs up. Have to get the shopping cart unlocked from our scaffolding rails and removed. A middle class looking white guy comes up. Looking for a soup kitchen. We direct him to SPSA, the Westside Campaign. But he wants to talk. Long. Frustrated. Angry. Contractor. Paper hanger. Member of the guild. Used to have his own business. Can’t find work. Made $28,000 last year. But his rent was $14,000. Lost his insurance. Lost his Camaro. Lost his...Says he’ll work for what they pay the Mexicans. He can have a one time emrgency grant, but, he’ll still be behind...
Teddy says, look bro, why don’t you use some of that money and get your insurance back again, get some work, get some money comin  in...
No that won’t work because, because...what am I supposed to do? Just what the fuck am I supposed to do? 
Two blocks down to the west, says Teddy.
Frustration. Madness. What comes first? we all need to be heard.
Helena continues. She had a new cell phone. Not yet activated. A call came. How could that be? It was a voice telling her, in her Polish, to close a window. An intruder was trying to get in. It was Jesus, spaeaking in Polish. Or her angel. When her daughter came to help her to activate the phone, the miraculous message was still there. 
Time to leave to teach in Newark. Outside, Teddy and I see Wesley approaching. We ask him about the shopping cart. Not his. That fat Spanish guy, he says. And whose bike is that?
Look bro, you're gonna have to get somethin figured out, Teddy says in his husky Bronx accent to Wesley. This just ain’t workin.’ ‘S no good. He’s concerned about Antonia. So am I. Offer to help hook him up with Goddard-Riverside. Project Reachout.

Man, I already have an open case with them. They lookin. Lookin. What am I supposed to do?

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