M checking in from California, April 2014. The Goodwill Tour 2013 is always on our minds, especially when we run across someone who might enjoy or benefit from our stories or, more importantly, who could use a little help.
Tonight while walking the dogs, a young man asked me for directions. I’m not from here, but I kinda knew where it was. Another pedestrian straightened us out. It was in my direction, so I led him forward, dogs pulling at the leash. He just seemed out of place.
“How old are you?” “19.” “You in school?” “No.” “Have a place to live?” “Yes.” “What are you doing? “I need a job.”
Cool. Got that straight now.
Home, it turns out, is 15 miles and a rail and a serious hike away. What about a cab? So I run upstairs and scrounge out eighteen bucks. We walk up the street and ask a cabbie how much. Forty. Back upstairs to get the ATM card. Now were good.
We’ve got a few minutes to talk, meanwhile. His parents kicked him out because they don’t understand him. Immigrant parents? Yep. “You know they love you, right?” “Uhhh….”. Well they do. They’re just scared and they don’t understand American culture and what it’s done to their child whose ass they would have kicked back home. Not here.
I’m guessing it’s a sexuality issue, and, yes, it is. But the real issue is a job, and one closer to home: “Wash dishes or cut lawns, anything. Make that important first, then figure out the rest.” He’s a very sweet kid, and clearly very smart. And I’m just a crusty old man who knows from too much experience too much that a 19 year old kid needs to learn on his own.
I sure hope he finds his way. I just think it will be better without all those people who are trying to turn him their way and not the way of, say, a job and a stable place to stay – and way of life.
God bless you, kid. Find a job first, then maybe you will find yourself. Above all, be safe.
I really think you’re alright.