So, last time I posted a rather long list of woes about me and my home I’ve been trying to spruce up for the holidays. Since then, Painter has finished the job, and he hasn’t been back since Monday, which is awesome – lovely as he was – but we’re all ever so happy to have one less body in the house, certainly while we’re trying to unfurl from our life under shrink wrap.
At least we’ve all managed to stay fresh. (Heh.)
On Tuesday, my husband got the faucet piece we’ve been waiting for, so we have water in our kitchen again, and all has been restored.
Wednesday I stood at my usual spot behind the couch in the kitchen, and flicked on the tv, searching for something to watch while I embarked on folding the MOUNTAIN of clean clothes.
I stopped on an HBO documentary (you know HBO – all of their films are fantastic!) and though I’d missed the first ten minutes or so, I stopped surfing. It was called, “Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County.”
So I folded clothes just as I was being introduced to a family of six all living in a no-bedroom motel room in what appeared to be Scuzzville, just an off-ramp away from Nowhereland, California.
Just two days prior, I was likening our reno-hell situation as to staying in a crappy hotel with no amenities or service. I was joking. (No, not really.) But then sometimes the Universe has a way of making you give your head a shake. Holy crap.
There was a young girl of about 12 years of age folding clothes in the middle of the space, just before she collected the plastic bowls, now empty of their Spaghetti-o’s or whatever from her young brothers (aged about 7 and 8) and proceeded to wash them in the fist-sized sink in the “kitchenette” just outside their washroom.
Her baby brother sipped from a juice-box next to her dad, sprawled out on the bed (because there’s no where else to sit) who is out of work. Mum was just leaving for her nightshift at the hospital where she earns something like $14/hour. They pay a weekly rate at the hotel. They’ve managed to cram a bunk bed in there along with the double-sized mattress. The boys sleep on the bottom, their sister is above, and the parents share the other bed with their not-yet-toddler.
For the rest of the hour, the filmmaker (Alexandra Pelosi) talks with several families (though mostly the kids) about how things are going, inquires about how they live, and follows them through a typical day, ask what plans they have for the future…
The saddest thing ever was hearing the answer to the question: “Do you look forward to anything?” Child after child said the same thing, in their own words… “No. Nothing at all.”
They play in the parking lots of the motels. They lie down in the grass near the sidewalks and watch the fireworks display coming from Disneyland. They go dumpster-diving every week when another family gets evicted, and the left-over contents of their room get chucked into the trash cans outside the motel.
They wish for homes. The want their parents to find work. They wish to do their lives over again. They wish not to have lice and bedbugs.
Two days prior to this, I was wishing that the part for my Italian faucet would FINALLY be at the dealer so I could have my LIFE back to normal and how it should be – clean, tidy, beautiful.
We’re not rich people by any stretch of the imagination… but all things are relative. I felt burning shame as I stood there folding our clean clothes and things. My eyes brimmed with tears the entire time I watched. The rut of poverty is so very, very deep – it can affect EVERYTHING to come in a life. There but for the grace of God go I… I’ve never been homeless. It sounds like a stretch, but a lost job, or a bad investment, or bad planning, or just plain bad luck… it could happen to anyone. Le sigh.
Yes, I hear you, Universe… thanks for the reminder.