Not everyone is cut out
to work with the scum of the earth.
I currently stay at a three-star hotel that the City commandeered to house homeless people during COVID. Each person has a room to oneself. We’re not allowed to go in anyone else’s room. We’re not allowed to close, let alone lock, our doors while inside our rooms. I don’t know why that is.
Meals are delivered to one’s room. When lunch and supper, each of them, is delivered, they also check everyone’s temperature. That’s a COVID thing.
Some people will want to look at the things I say here, and in next week’s post, from the angle of race. I’m going to say all I will say about that, now. The “guest” population here, that is, us homeless, is more than 95% black. Except for the ⅓ to ¼ of the housekeeping staff who are Hispanic immigrants, and the one white man whose job appears to consist of being bilingual, the staff is entirely black.
Staff appear to come from three or four different outfits. Some are the regular hotel staff. Others work for the City. Others work for Catholic Charities. Others are uniformed, armed security people from private contractors. Except for those last ones, it’s hard to tell who works for whom. No one else wears a uniform, and no one wears a name tag.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
I was still in bed at 9:17 a.m., which isn’t unusual given my current DSPS. This man, big man, possibly 6’4” and very muscular, walked into my room and stood at the foot of my bed and told me to get up, because someone was coming to change the beds.
I don’t recall his exact words, but he was very abrupt.
I got up and got dressed, and minutes later this woman came to change the beds. I was working at my desk. The door to my room stood all the way open, a doorstop jammed into the frame. The same man passed by, and said to the woman, “Do you want me to get him out of there?” She said, “No, he all right.”
I was floored. Expel me from my own room, because she was there? Where did he expect me to go; what did he expect me to do?
A “translation” of this remark will appear below.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
About 11:30, I was in the bathroom, having just done some business that would take a while to clean up; and lunch came.
There’s a sign on my door: “PLEASE! No breakfast! No lunch! I only eat supper! :)” They said, “We have to take your temperature anyway.” I called through the door that I was sitting down in the bathroom.
Minutes later, the guy came back — not the same one as yesterday, but the bald one with a gray beard, the only staff member who’s like that — and banged on the door and shouted my name.
It reminded me so much of McDonald’s, where as soon as you sat down in the single-stall bathroom, someone would be kicking the door, yelling, “You’ve been in there forever, and I gotta go!”
I was able to finish my business quickly, wash my hands, and go to the door. I said, “I guess it’s a question of whether or not I get to wipe my butt.” He said nothing.
I went out to buy my sodas and doughnuts, and to sit down and smoke and stew about this.
We’re not the kind of people they’re used to.
They think it’s OK to disrespect us.
I mentioned in “Candor” that no one’s going to respect folk who disrespect themselves and one another.
Is that the way we are? Given the way this place runs, it’s hard for me to tell. There are very few social interactions; only during smoke breaks, or entering or leaving the building, or off-site, do I get to see how other people here act.
Let’s assume that most of the folk here live self-degrading lives. If I don’t … Given the inevitability of prejudice, can I really expect to be treated any differently than them?
The “translation” of the muscled man’s remark: There have been incidents where guests attacked staff in similar settings.
A story left over from the script for “Candor:”
At my last prior housing, at the defunct school, there were two groups of people; that is, two groups of black people, the population being 95% black. All the people who complained of being robbed, were those who looked, themselves, like they might rob somebody. They all and only stole from each other.
That speaks to me of serotonin levels.
People who emanate darkness, attract darkness.
When I got back to the hallway where my room is, this fellow came down the hall toward me, thoroughly intoxicated, lurching left, lurching right, staggering, saying, “Somebody gimme a dollar. Somebody lemme hold a dollar.”
To work with the scum of the earth, one must show respect to people who show no respect for themselves.
Methinks these dynamics play into the reality of police brutality.
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