The Writer In Me

My Second Paying Job

I remember earning the right to work for the phone company by scoring the highest out of all the, “Office Education,” classes at my high school. Other kids ended up at the Electric company who paid a good deal less, or McDonald’s who paid a whole lot less. I recall this particular incident as if it were happening right now, standing on the bus stop on the south side of Milwaukee. I believe it was the second or third bus I had to catch to get to work, so it was quite early in the morning. Until we’d graduated, those of us with enough credits could work half a day, then attend school. After graduation, I was kept on, given a raise and promoted from Disptach Clerk to Check Processor - full time. After getting used to seeing me on the bus stop, some of the white high school kids thought it was a good idea to throw boiled eggs at me as their school bus went by. There I was, this stanch tomboy, forced to dress up in my finest church outfits, looking forward to going into that professional environment and making $2.78/hr which, mind you, was big money back then. And here comes these undisciplined, racist, little bastards throwing the proverbial monkey wrench into the psyche of my future outlook on undisciplined, racist, white bastards. I wanted to punch each one of them in the nose, those who threw eggs and those who threw racial slurs out of the lowered windows, and those who laughed everyday that this went on. There’s no way the driver was not aware of what they were doing. Those buttholes were intentionally loud - boastful even - high on privilege and full of themselves. They were “ghetto acting,” to turn their phrase, or even more fitting, “thugs,” as they’d call a black child or group of black youth who’d have behaved in such a manner. Those were the times when I hated being “dressed up.” In my basketball gear, jeans and gym shoes, or anything not a dress or considered dress clothes, I was invincible. I was the me that could survive the ills of the hood and laughed in the face of racist punks. In my heart I believed I could’ve caught up to that bus, pulled some of those assholes out of those windows and beat them into some measure of discipline and respect. I could’ve made my statement and exercised my right to stand at the bus-stop without being assaulted. Damn those heels - the softness of being ‘dressed up,’ made to look ‘presentable’ to the very racist system that left me vulnerable to the whims of evil doers young and old, rendering me helpless,  caught off-guard.  I could’ve garnered a ton of hate with this and the years upon years filled with instances where racism, and its multitude of willing evil doers relishing in their lifetimes of free to commit acts, smacked me dead in the face and I was helpless to do anything about it. But, all too often I remember the many bus drivers who pulled over and waited for me to catch up, especially when it was raining or snowing like crazy. Those who asked me if I was okay, joked about the downpour or otherwise inclement weather, greeted me warmly, and even waited until I sat before pulling off. And I remembered that they were white, and believed that had they been driving that school bus, the eggs would’ve never have been thrown. I remembered that  they weren’t racist bastards, but really nice people - humane even. Then, I remembered the tons of bus drivers who’d passed me by when I was maybe a quarter of a block away from the bus stop and running as fast as my youthful, athletic legs could carry me which was quite fast. Yes, even in heels, dresses, and cute jackets and coats, I could put foot to ass - heels to hiney - move like the wind. I even carried a purse back then, was all girly in my cuteness. Still, they just drove the hell on by, grinning even sometimes, without a care as to the crime ridden areas I had to skirt through, the snow storm, or pouring rain I’d have to stand in, the fact that I’d probably miss my connecting bus and possibly be late for work - nothing. And I remembered that they were black. And so the question became, do I hate all black people too? I mean, if I’m only hating people who treated me like shit, for whatever reason, or no reason at all, then do I include them all? Or, pick and choose out of convenience? You know, the way I hate when someone does during an argument that they know they’re losing or have no grounds in, but refuse to relent to the truth? Loving myself as I do, hating all black people was never an option. Hating all of anyone, or for me, ‘anyone’ was never an option. I decided at a very young age to always be aware of my surroundings, knowledgeable of the dynamics that makes America what and who she is, and to never lump any race into a category in terms of people interactivity. I deal with everyone based on how they deal with me. Eyes wide open, but fairly so.

MY SECOND PAYING JOB

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Your Stylist

MY SECOND PAYING

JOB

My Second Paying Job

I remember earning the right to work for the phone company by scoring the highest out of all the, “Office Education,” classes at my high school. Other kids ended up at the Electric company who paid a good deal less, or McDonald’s who paid a whole lot less. I recall this particular incident as if it were happening right now, standing on the bus stop on the south side of Milwaukee. I believe it was the second or third bus I had to catch to get to work, so it was quite early in the morning. Until we’d graduated, those of us with enough credits could work half a day, then attend school. After graduation, I was kept on, given a raise and promoted from Disptach Clerk to Check Processor - full time. After getting used to seeing me on the bus stop, some of the white high school kids thought it was a good idea to throw boiled eggs at me as their school bus went by. There I was, this stanch tomboy, forced to dress up in my finest church outfits, looking forward to going into that professional environment and making $2.78/hr which, mind you, was big money back then. And here comes these undisciplined, racist, little bastards throwing the proverbial monkey wrench into the psyche of my future outlook on undisciplined, racist, white bastards. I wanted to punch each one of them in the nose, those who threw eggs and those who threw racial slurs out of the lowered windows, and those who laughed everyday that this went on. There’s no way the driver was not aware of what they were doing. Those buttholes were intentionally loud - boastful even - high on privilege and full of themselves. They were “ghetto acting,” to turn their phrase, or even more fitting, “thugs,” as they’d call a black child or group of black youth who’d have behaved in such a manner. Those were the times when I hated being “dressed up.” In my basketball gear, jeans and gym shoes, or anything not a dress or considered dress clothes, I was invincible. I was the me that could survive the ills of the hood and laughed in the face of racist punks. In my heart I believed I could’ve caught up to that bus, pulled some of those assholes out of those windows and beat them into some measure of discipline and respect. I could’ve made my statement and exercised my right to stand at the bus-stop without being assaulted. Damn those heels - the softness of being ‘dressed up,’ made to look ‘presentable’ to the very racist system that left me vulnerable to the whims of evil doers young and old, rendering me helpless,  caught off- guard.  I could’ve garnered a ton of hate with this and the years upon years filled with instances where racism, and its multitude of willing evil doers relishing in their lifetimes of free to commit acts, smacked me dead in the face and I was helpless to do anything about it. But, all too often I remember the many bus drivers who pulled over and waited for me to catch up, especially when it was raining or snowing like crazy. Those who asked me if I was okay, joked about the downpour or otherwise inclement weather, greeted me warmly, and even waited until I sat before pulling off. And I remembered that they were white, and believed that had they been driving that school bus, the eggs would’ve never have been thrown. I remembered that  they weren’t racist bastards, but really nice people - humane even. Then, I remembered the tons of bus drivers who’d passed me by when I was maybe a quarter of a block away from the bus stop and running as fast as my youthful, athletic legs could carry me which was quite fast. Yes, even in heels, dresses, and cute jackets and coats, I could put foot to ass - heels to hiney - move like the wind. I even carried a purse back then, was all girly in my cuteness. Still, they just drove the hell on by, grinning even sometimes, without a care as to the crime ridden areas I had to skirt through, the snow storm, or pouring rain I’d have to stand in, the fact that I’d probably miss my connecting bus and possibly be late for work - nothing. And I remembered that they were black. And so the question became, do I hate all black people too? I mean, if I’m only hating people who treated me like shit, for whatever reason, or no reason at all, then do I include them all? Or, pick and choose out of convenience? You know, the way I hate when someone does during an argument that they know they’re losing or have no grounds in, but refuse to relent to the truth? Loving myself as I do, hating all black people was never an option. Hating all of anyone, or for me, ‘anyone’ was never an option. I decided at a very young age to always be aware of my surroundings, knowledgeable of the dynamics that makes America what and who she is, and to never lump any race into a category in terms of people interactivity. I deal with everyone based on how they deal with me. Eyes wide open, but fairly so.