Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Fellow Americans

Counting the people has ended, as least in our area. I am out of work and I feel guilty for being so happy about that. I feel guilty for hating my job so much. I told my team leader one day that was I was very disappointed in my fellow Americans. I encountered such hostility! Such rudeness! Such distrust of government. But now that it's over, I think maybe this is not such a bad thing. Americans are tough and don't like to be pushed around. We are independent and private and don't like intruders asking nosy questions.

In just a few months I feel like I've seen it all--every kind of American. I've knocked on the doors of million dollar homes and run-down apartments. I've traveled through mobile home parks and retirement communities and even tattoo parlors. I've seen all colors of people. I've met people from all walks of life--housewives and bikers and businessmen and day laborers. I've found people in all kinds of circumstances. A single dad with a baby in diapers clinging to his leg, too busy to talk because he was trying to cook dinner. I met an elderly woman whose husband had recently been admitted to a nursing home. She was lonely and scared and wanted someone to listen. One man just buried his wife the day I was on his doorstep. I felt like the worst kind of intruder. I found a woman sitting in the sun on her front porch. She said, "I've been waiting for you." I enjoyed talking with her. I was invited inside homes for refreshments and shown family portraits. Now that I am writing this, I realize how many people I met who were not rude or hostile. Maybe many were guarded and wary, but kind and helpful. I liked all these people. They shared a glimpse of their lives with me. But then there was the other side of this job.

I've been threatened and yelled at and had the door slammed in my face. I've heard people ranting and raving about politics. If I could have removed this intimidation factor, I would have enjoyed meeting all the people who live in my community. But there was always the fear of what kind of person would answer the door. These people made the job miserable.

Now it's over. What an experience! I told my team leader today, "See you in ten years!" He said, "No way! Never again!" I know the feeling.

No comments: