Flat Stanley's been gainfully employed for the last coupla weeks. The honeymoon you usually get at a new job is wearing off, and today FS learned why one of her co-workers is constantly nasty to . . . Bob. Yes, that's a good pseudonym. Bob.
Bob is a hyper little guy, bald on top and Albert Einstein hair on the fringes, wild and wiry and looks like he just did a Ben Franklin with a kite, a key and a lightning storm. Why ol' Ben lived to be famous is beyond FS. Last week, a guy taking a run on a beach got mowed down by a crashing airplane when he wasn't looking, and Ben Franklin got away with attracting lightning and lived to tell the story? Go figure.
So about Bob. Military retiree, probably, and the fact that he wasn't mowed down by his own troops in a supreme act of self-preservation probably reflects (a) the military's foresight in never assigning him a duty station in a conflict zone or (b) dumb luck.
Bob's not dumb, but he does apparently like living on the edge. Otherwise, why would he delay until the last possible moment the completion of high priority projects whose success depends upon the timely submission and implementation of input from others? And once warning others that this project would be extremely high priority, would he delay delivery for several hours? And then, upon delivery, give incomplete direction? And then, when presented with the results, spend the next 45 minutes fussing over the the why's instead of simply saying "go make it right?"
But, yeah, working in the city has its upside. Last Monday, FS climbed the steps from the Metro to the sound of a hauntingly sorrowful, beautifully performed melody on a violin with guitar accompaniment. At the top of 58 steps, FS dug out a dollar bill, ignored a tiny Chinese immigrant begging for funds to return home, and paid it to a tall, sorrowful-looking man in a yarmulke and a troll in a jeans and a suit jacket.
THIS Monday, FS climbed the steps the steps from the Metro to the sound of a hauntingly sorrowful, beautifully performed melody on a violin with guitar accompaniment, only this time it was the tall guy wearing the suit jacket and the troll looked pretty spiffy. What can you do but laugh? FS paid her buck and figured that for the next six or eight weeks, other people can pony up for the 7:30 am serenade.
And it's the city, of course, so FS has learned to keep her eyes down, ignore the guys whose pallets border the two blocks between Metro and work, and step over the pee spots on the sidewalk. Think about it: Where else are they gonna go? Until now, FS has never thought to wonder: Where do they poo?
FS is a do-gooder at heart, so Monday she spent her lunch hour helping people at the homeless shelter apply for jobs. Now here's room for a rant. WHAT IN THE WORLD DO PEOPLE THINK THEY'RE DOING, ASKING SOMEONE TO SUBMIT A RESUME AND COVER LETTER FOR A PART TIME JOB THAT PAYS $8.25 AN HOUR? Seriously. The economy is not that bad. And nobody's who's serious about providing jobs for the homeless can possibly think that a cover letter and resume is a realistic way to help people in that situation move ahead.
The richest part of that experience is that the center for homeless has nine computers. Seven are for general use and two (which weren't working that day) are dedicated for a few hours a week to job search. So not only were FS's two clients trying to apply for nowhere jobs on a broken computer, but the guy sitting at the computer nearby had serious space issues and threatened us all with serious but unspecified harm if we bumped into him One. More. Time.
So back to Bob. On the one hand we got little crazy guys hanging on by their claws til retirement and on the other, unemployed guys hanging on by their claws til the next bathroom, the next cup of coffee, the next chance to do something right.
Bob's not a bad guy. He's just doin' the best he can, and driving people crazy along the way. Many of the homeless men and women aren't bad people, but they're driving us all crazy along the way. Crazy because we don't know how to help them, crazy because we see in them the same hopes and fears and dreams we see in ourselves. Crazy and sometimes scared because somewhere inside of us we know that between us and them, and you and me, and Bob and his co-workers, the differences aren't any bigger than in the musicians from Monday to Monday. Same beauty, same wonder, same song.
That's just crazy.