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    The Week That Was  

    4/26 – 5/2/2015


    The week was very out of the ordinary.  By the end, I was somewhat stunned.  Though each item is a story in itself, here are mainly the headlines.

    ·         I went to see a friend’s play Old Flame which is at the Theatre for the New City.  I went alone.  Sat two rows behind my friend who wrote the play and watched him enjoy the production as well.

    ·         Crossed the street and tried a place I hadn’t been to before – Night Owl.  Bartender knew how to make a Long Island Ice Tea. 

    ·         Went to see my friend at her community garden on 6th St.  In the middle of her doing garden business, she and I spoke about a heartbreaking situation of mine, I cried, we hugged, and then she was going off with her husband, and I headed west.

    ·         On Second Avenue, a church choir was belting it out from inside the Middle Collegiate Church.  The gloriousness stopped me, and I went back across the street to the church’s open doors, entered, and stayed for the sermon.  I don’t attend churches, synagogues, mosques, or any of that.  So this was truly out of the ordinary.  The minister spoke on the fig leaf and how God knows who you are with or without the fig leaf.  Though it isn’t news to me, it was nice to know there are more people who think your truth is what matters. 

    ·         I wanted to get to a comedy open mic but wasn’t feeling very funny.  I had cried throughout most of the time in the church.  I decided to stop at a store and play two games of Take 5.  I figured since things were unusual, maybe I’d win something.

    ·         Went to the open mic but just to be audience and get back in the atmosphere.  Enjoyed it mainly. 

    ·         On Monday, I had to take time off from work to wait for a tile man to re-tile my bathroom wall from a pipe replacement that took place weeks before.  I was so exhausted that I could barely stay awake while they were here.  At some point, I woke from the couch, they were gone, and my door was not locked.  That scared me.  I don’t live with my door unlocked.  Ever.  I was alone and asleep.  Bad.  Scared the shit out of myself.  Thank God, all was fine.  I even have a nice part of a bathroom wall.

    ·         Found out my Take 5 ticket won a free game.  Haven’t played it yet.

    ·         My buddy came over to help me get certain things done.  I needed his moral support.  I wrote to a relative who I have been thinking of a lot and whose husband died a few months ago.  Family relations are strained from many years back, so it is very anxiety-producing.  Doing it felt much better than not doing it.  I even sent her a copy of this where a thin slice of memoir is included. 


    ·         Tuesday was a broke day for me as it is the day before payday.  I know how to live on very low funds, so I was managing.  I was on a break from my class, stepped off the college campus to smoke a cigarette, and ran into a former student who was a favorite.  We spoke about how he’s doing in his more advanced classes, he gave me credit for providing a good start, and when saying goodbye, he put a paper in my hand and told me to use it at the cafeteria.  I figured he gave me a dollar for coffee.  When I looked, it was $20.  He was gone. 

    ·         Ran into a former math student later.  She shared that her new class (the highest level) was going well.  Her teacher asked her how she knew what to do with the fraction part of the equation, and she said, “I came from Mindy’s class. She’s the best.”  That felt great.  Her new teacher used to be my boss.

    ·         Tuesday night, I found someone’s health benefits card lying in the street.  I picked it up to mail to whatever address I could find on it.  It’s not that I don’t have plenty to do, but this is something I’d hope someone would do for me, so it’s that Golden Rule thingy.

    ·         My buddy did me the favor of driving me to my bank to deposit a check that I needed in there to cover other checks.  It was late (on the night of a day I work both of my jobs), and I was grateful to not have to be waiting for buses.  When we returned, we sat in his car in front of my building for at least 15 minutes talking about many things.  This resulted in the police driving the wrong way on the Grand Concourse in an unmarked car right to us but without crashing and then alongside of us and then turned around and drove up behind us, got out, demanded ID, answers to questions, my friend was frisked (lightly), we were both made to get out, a search of the car without probable cause took place, they were shocked to learn I live there, my job ID is from a college and says ‘Faculty’ which we were sure helped.  When they first came to the car demanding all kinds of answers, it occurred to me they could be all fired up by the Baltimore riots/protests.  I, ever-so-whitely-and-politely, asked if we had done anything wrong.  The officer was taken by surprise and didn’t even try to veil that he was manufacturing a lie in front of our faces.  It was almost the end of the month, so I figured they were desperate to fill the quota they don’t have.  I was worried at how far they’d go to meet the demand.  Fortunately, they didn’t plant anything in the car.  I am so lucky that the police weren’t totally criminal.  My friend and I were both keenly aware that, as much as it was still wrong (zero probable cause), we were given the poor-white treatment (at least after they saw my ID).  We parted uninjured, unframed, alive, disrespected, with our rights trampled. 

    ·         Wednesday during the break from class, students informed me they saw bedbugs on the back of the jacket of another student.  Oy oy oy.

    ·         After class, there was a math teachers’ meeting where we were to solve complicated problems and talk about it.  I solved and fell asleep, solved, discussed how I solved, and fell asleep again.  I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  After the police incident the night before, I was up very late at home.

    ·         After the meeting, I was supposed to prepare some poems to be in an assembly book that evening at a workshop I attend as regularly as I can.  I never got the poems selected, typed, and copied.  I didn’t go to the workshop to collate and staple.  I was zonked.  And it was only Wednesday.

    ·         Received an email (I haven’t opened) from a man my friends used to refer to as the chloroform guy.  He’s a photographer I once was going to have a session with, but he sounded too weird after a while, so I stopped talking to him.  It’s been a few years, and now he wrote again.  Maybe he thought I was having a boring week.

    ·         That night in my borough, 4 people were shot, and 3 stabbed in 5 separate reported incidents within 6 hours.  You’d think there’s enough real crime to get those quotas filled without bothering innocent people.

    ·         On Thursday, I feared I cooperated with a scam.  I’m usually alert to offers that sound too good, etc., but this time I was functioning with less wisdom.  I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a connection between feeling disempowered by the police and not being on top of things on a scammy phonecall.

    ·         On Friday, outside my classroom window which faces a big ball field, the US Marines were landing five helicopters.  We had no idea what was going on.  Students were using phone cameras, and I surrendered.  The marines ended my class early that day.  We later learned they were preparing for how they were going to get President Obama there on the following Monday.


    ·         Saturday I headed to the Cannabis Parade for my first time though it has been going on annually for 17 years.  I think Bronx residents need to know that many people from all walks of life not only use cannabis but work to change the laws, to get weed to cancer patients and to veterans, to be a presence when possible for those still fighting legal battles, etc.  I learned that there’s an international organization called L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) which includes district attorneys, judges, police officers, etc.  That was uplifting.



    ·         We marched from 32nd Street to Union Square Park where the rally took place all afternoon.  The assistant publisher/editor of High Times was the main host on stage.  There was support shown by some politicians.  Speeches emphasized that the supposed war on drugs is actually a war on the youth, the poor, the sick, and people of color.

    ·         I joined a friend for dinner at a bookstore I’d never been to before, Revolutionary Books.  Treated myself to a book -- a play by Eve Ensler, “Necessary Targets.”

    ·         That night, I ended up at a party, and, of all the people I never would have thought would be there, Bernie Goetz was there -- checking me out.


  2. 4 comments:

    1. RHC said...

      A jam packed week! "You’d think there’s enough real crime to get those quotas filled without bothering innocent people."

    2. I need to make a correction. I learned the Cannabis Parade has been going on over 40 years since 1974.

      And yes, Rhonda, when quotas are running things, you can see it in the very disappointed face of a law enforcement officer when he discovers that we weren't doing criminal activity. A decent person would be glad not everyone is doing criminal things. They become desperate to give out summonses and make arrests to fulfill some number instead of doing a professional job. They alienate the very people who might have been helpful in solving real crime. They destroy lives with criminal records for people who shouldn't have criminal records. They need serious re-screening and re-training. They need to also be current with the laws and not make them up as they go along. American adults are allowed to sit in front of their house without curfew restrictions and if not doing anything criminal, should not have to explain where they came from and why they are there. We are losing so much ground as citizens the more they get away with this. Then Bratton is on tv talking to us like he's reading a story to 3-year-olds. "The policeman is your friend." Bullying, lying, armed -- yeah, a friend.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.
    4. What an incredible week! Thanks for sharing all those thoughts and feelings.

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