Thursday, November 3, 2005

A Whole New World- Toya
I miss those days when I could turn on the radio and hear artists like Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle on the air. You know back in the day when you had to actually be able to sing to get a recording contract.

Due to a difference of opinion with one of my bosses (her opinion was she could talk to me any kind of way and my opinion was no the hell she can't) I am temping again! Oh. Happy. Day. Long story, don't want to relive it. Let's move on.

I started working at the library five minutes from our house around the beginning of September. Everything was fine and dandy until I received a call saying that they were moving some temps around to different branches and the one I would be transferred to is 20 minutes away. I was not at all happy. I spoke to one of my coworkers and asked her where the branch to where I would be transferred was. "Oh, you are going to the PJ's" she answered regrettfully. "The PJ's? What in the world are the PJ's" To you ignorant suburbanites such as myself, the PJ's are the projects.

On my first day, I got lost and when I finally arrived to a part of Nashville where I had never been before in my five years of living here, I have to say I was scared. Upon my arrival on Halloween I was greeted with a raw egg that had been thrown at the window. I lated found out that they used to throw bricks through the windows so I was not even about to complain.

This has been an experience that has changed my life forever. I am not proud of this but I realize that as a black person, I am very far removed from the black community. Now I am not saying that the black community is just limited to the inner city. However, this a part of the black experience that I am not familiar with and had I not been forced out of my comfort zone, may have never been faced with.

The library itself is about 1/5 the size as my neighborhood library. It has a small staff and a security guard. In the LIBRARY. This freaked me out. All is quiet except for the very beginning of the day and the close to the end of the day. The beginning of the day normally consists of residents of the projects across the street coming into use the phone every morning. Imagine if you were at your desk at work and someone off of the street came in and just picked up the phone to call Tyrone. You'd be in shock. Now imagine if you told them that it wasn't a public phone and that you needed to actually use it for your job and THEY were in shock, caught an attitude and threatened your life? Sounds like fun doesn't it? Didn't think so. Well that happened today. A guy came in like he does every day to use our phone. It truly is the fault of the employees there that they have been so lenient in letting patrons come in and just use the phone as if they were in their own house. Our supervisor Laurel was waiting on two phone calls and politely let him know that he would not be able to use the phone at that time. Unexpectedly, he got confrontational. He let her know that he had been using the phone every day longer than she had been working there and then one of my most hated phrases came out of his mouth "You don't know me. You can't talk to me like that." I don't understand why some grown people feel that you can't correct them if you don't know them. Before we knew it he was threatening to beat her up, then threatened to bring his sister to beat her up and THEN threatened to bring his boys up there with AK's. It was a delightful morning.

No one had ever seen this guy, around late teens, act like this. All of us there were women except for one male coworker who to my disappointment completely punked out when I felt he could've made a difference. While the guy was walking out, he turned to him and said "See, it's people like her. People like her that make it hard for us. I'm trying to go to Job Corps. I'm trying to get my life right." and then he continued on with the threats. My coworker stood there and did not say one word. Now Tia and I are fortunate enough to know a lot of great men, black, white, hispanic, etc. I cannot name one (okay, let's not include the real metrosexual ones that wouldn't want to scuff up there designer jeans) guy that would stand there and let a woman get harassed like that and secondly, could not be man enough to take that young man to the side and compassionately get to the root of the problem in love. To me, my coworker is a part of the problem. He'll let any of them use the phone and try to be their friend but he really isn't their friend. A lot of troubled teens don't just need friends, they need boundaries.

The po po didn't show up until a little over 3 hours later. Four cops nonchalantly walked in the door after taking a trip to the water fountain. Seeing no sign of urgency, one of them said that they got a call about a threat made with an AK-47. "Yeah, like 4 hours ago" I snapped back. I don't trust the police and I can't exactly trace back as to what incident sparked that mistrust. I vaguely remember as little girl something happening between my dad and a police officer and I knew that if they would wrongly accuse my father, who in my house IS the law of the land to us, they would wrongly accuse anyone. I bit the inside of my lips together to keep my smart, New Jersey sarcasm bred behind from saying one more word. Laurel had just gone on her hour lunch break and they promised to stop right back and they did; 2 and half hours later.

Blogger is trippin' so this is part one. Part two to come soon. But in the meanwhile, please pray for us down there.

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