C. Gabriel

Lightning Avenger
2001-09-03 04:00:32 (UTC)

What have I become...

Well hello Rose,
It's been awhile, I know. But so much has happened since
last I wrote. I worked this summer at two fast food places
in Pearl. It was an incredibly enlightening experience.
Once I read an article about this guy in the NY Times who
would go undercover into these homeless food kitchens, and
on the streets of NY to learn more about the plight of and
the desparity of homeless people. Forget that, I learned
all of that and more simply working a summer job at
Wendy's. It was so enlightening. There was this one girl
Linda. She looked like she was about 15, but she was
actually 23, and she was married to some guy who was 56.
Think that's crazy. It gets worse. They have an 18 year
old son, (of course by the father's first marriage) and two
twins that are preschool age by now. Crazy! And the weird
thing was that this lady is a wife and mother of three and
her only source of income is Wendy's Hamburgers. Man. It
really put things in perspective, you know. I was there
thinking: in a few weeks, everything will change for me.
I'll pack my bags, load my car, and head to Atlanta. Head
to a place of opportunity, to a school where I'll be
treated like a king, 3 sometimes 4 meals a day, spending
money out of my ass, a nice girlfriend, a great mind and
most importantly, the strength and energy of being a
youth. But these people...they'll continue to get up at 6
every morning. And they'll continue to here the
complaints. "Too much mustard...you forgot my
pickles...Hey! This isn't what I ordered!" They'll
continue to be treated like...well, people that work at
Wendy's. And it's so odd because all of my life, I've been
told that you should concentrate and do good in school
because nobody wants to grow up flipping hamburgers all day
long. If you could see them, though. They take pride even
in the lowliest of jobs. And I realized that, yes, these
people probably made a few bad decisions along the way.
Maybe drugs, maybe sex, maybe quitting school, who knows.
But, I think the most prevalent reason that they're stuck
there is probably the fate of circumstance. How cruel to
think that any one of these spirits could have been another
Roosevelt, or Mother Theresa, or maybe even someone so
great we couldn't even imagine... It's a simple of matter
of being born into a family or a situation not as blessed
as others. Take me for instance, I was born into a family
in which my mom and dad have sacrificed almost everything
they have for the sake of my education. Not only scholarly
education, but moral, physical, and spiritual also. My mom
has worked 2 and 3 jobs not because she had to, but because
she felt it important that I learned to play soccer, and
the piano, and to sing and go to church and be able to wear
some of the same clothes as everyone else. It's a simple
matter of being blessed. I believe that everyone is
blessed in some form or another. But in these cases,
either their blessings haven't been realized or they're
simply not visible by a man who still places such an
emphasis on materialistic things. It's sad to think of the
harsh looks and taunts that some of our customers gave. It
was easy for me. I kept telling myself that it was only
for a little while longer. But Kenesha, and Dia and Nicole
and Sonya, and Pam...even as I write, they're probably
bending over tired from another day. Their only relief
coming in the form of 7 to 8 hours of sleep, but even that
may not be complete given the backgrounds that these people
come from. Sure it'd be easy to think that when they get
in their cars and leave the parking lot, the torture ends
for another day. But what exactly do they go home to. The
care and loving nature and support that I was blessed
with? Probably not. And so, it's even more depressing to
realize that for most of the friends (and yes, they are my
friends) that I made this summer, life is nothing more than
a cycle of depression, anger, and despair. Is it really so
suprising to think that their children and their children's
children will probably endure the same fate?

The rich are getting richer and poor are getting poor.

It's a spectrum that I find myself sloshing back and forth
in everyday. Which side will I eventually choose? I would
argue that my two well, three biggest influences are Jesus,
Dave Matthews, and Will Shakespeare. How odd that all
three would probably choose the poor. Not that anyone
wants to be poor, but what human with any heart whatsoever
would choose to join the ranks of the other side. And they
are the other side. Not all of them, but most of them,
yes. Those, rich, snobbish bastards who would yell and
treat my friends as if they were worth nothing more than
the dirt beneath our feet. So why should I want to join
them. Why am I here in school, so concerned with being the
top student. So concerned with waiting until after school
to be married. So concerned with ME, ME, ME!!!! I feel
almost as if I've already chosen sides. As if they've
already recruited me into their group. Crazy. I simply
don't know what I want anymore. My friends all run around
having sex and getting married and thinking nothing but all
hoping that they're doing things "right." That
they're "seizing the moment", "eat, drink and be
merry", "living today as if tomorrow may never come."
Shouldn't that be me? Isn't that who I am? Who I want to
be? Why am I doing all of this? Am I not merely following
the blueprint of life that society "donated" to me. Those
same people who look down on the people that I love. "What
am I doing?!" Jesus was born in a manger to a carpenter.
Dave Matthews donates all of his earnings to charity and
plays many of his concerts for free. Shakespeare's been
called the "Man of the Millenium", but died in poverty. Am
I not chasing a path on the complete opposite end of those
that I look to for wisdom and advice. I criticize Tiffany
and Aaron for marrying early. Marrying normal people,
taking normal jobs, living "normal" lives. But they're
happy. Who the hell am I to be criticizing?! And more
importantly, why haven't I joined them...


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