Monday, October 15, 2012

The Best World/The Real World

Okay, so the best world, in my opinion, happened yesterday. My son Marco came over at 8 AM to borrow one of my little trucks to do a favor for a friend of his who has just moved into his own apartment. The favor was to give the kid a television that Chepa, my wife/ex-wife, had in her garage. So they all got points for that. Then, about noon, my son Italo came over with his daughter Taylor Rain to watch football with me. An hour later Chepa showed up with my Madeleina--who had been at her house for two nights--and Sierra and Alexa, the babies. While Chepa cut my hair, I set out watercolors and paper for everyone and there are now maybe 20 new pieces of art in the house. Then crayons, then chalk, so that the front porch is gorgeous too. And then Chepa looked for the nail polish remover and sat in the sun in the driveway removing her toe nail polish while the kids ran through a huge puddle at the bottom of the driveway screaming "La la la la la la la..." a million times and getting soaked head to foot in the new rain. And while they did that I got out the guitar and began singing the "La la, don't get your head wet" song I was making up which they loved, which segued into the "My mother never bought me a big pumpkin" song when Alexa saw the huge pumpkin I'd bought and started crying that Chepa had never bought as big a pumpkin for her.
   Somewhere in there everyone ate fruit---pears, plums, watermelon--and chicken and rice, and sugary ice pops. And the girls each snuck a bit of coffee and made a mess and it was all just freaking perfect.
   That's the best world.
   And then there is the real world: today I spoke with a woman brought into the holding cell at the local jail who squatted to poop on the pot and was laughed at for two hours because with her knee replacements she couldn't get up. And then I spoke with someone who pays their children in pennies for housework because she can't afford more--and this is a woman making nearly $10 an hour but one of Romney's 47 percent for sure. And then I spoke with someone from my neighborhood who asked where the government cheese is because there are nine people at her house and she cannot afford to feed them--they are all working minimum wage and cannot pay for gas to go to work plus an apartment, plus food. Neither can she. So they are staying with her until they can save up to get their own places. I was thrilled to be able to tell her where to get lots of food. Not of her choice, but lots of it.
    I prefer my "best world" to the real world. There are very very few failures among the people. The issue is whether society has let them down. And the answer is yes. Some people squat on a pot and simply cannot get up because their knees don't work. They need a hand. And laughing at them, pointing fingers at them is not a solution. Putting a handrail in that they can use to give themselves a hand up might be. It's a simple answer but could go a long way to making this a better real world.

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