I left work a couple of hours early today. On the way home I found myself suddenly in a line of trucas blindadas from DF. There were 4 and I'm not sure how but suddenly 2 were in front of me and 2 behind me. All of a sudden I heard a blast and my truck was hit with something. I thought for sure someone was shooting at them but it was actually the car in the next lane over whose tire had blown out. Part of the tire must have popped off and hit my car. It scared the crap out of me! It must have scared the little caravan too because everyone slammed on their brakes when it happened and I almost hit the truck in front of me. That would have been beyond bad...
I was still shaking when I stopped at Bip Bip to pay our water bill. I get out of the car and as I am walking to the store there is a woman sitting on the ground with a cup asking for money. Her 2 children are at the door trying to sell mazapanes to all of the customers leaving the store. When I walked out the woman called to me. "Guera, un peso, lo que sea, por favor, tu tienes por compartir!"
Maybe it was because I had a stressful work week, maybe it was because I was freaked out about what happened on the road and not thinking, but I finally said something I had been wanting to say for so long. "Mija, levantate. Solo levantate. Como vas a tener esos pobres jovencitos trabajando, mientras que estes alli sentada?"
Before you think I am a total bitch, I have to say I understand that I am beyond fortunate and blessed to have been born in the United States where there are endless opportunities and resources. I am not so ignorant to think that everyone can get work in Mexico or has access to help and support when times are tough. I see that many people are poverty stricken in a way I will never fully comprehend. I think it was the way she was just sitting there, while her children were on their feet WORKING... it was just too much for me. And the sad thing is that I see it every single day and it really makes me sick. If you are so desperate for work and a home and food, then get up. Stand up. You have two legs. I do give to the poor in Mexico on a regular basis, but I rarely give money. I give food to people almost daily. Lord knows I have too much of it. I suppose the reason I do that is because the majority of the people I see begging look seriously drugged, drunk or just plain lazy and as a former addict I refuse to support another's addictions or laziness, even if it is just a peso. The people I do give money to are people who I feel really deserve it. I know that I am not the person who decides who deserves what, but come on people, do something... anything. My husband and I don't get paid to sit on the corner with a cup. Is that was this woman thinks? "Tu tienes por compartir!" Seriously? Less than 15 minutes before I gave to a woman who was singing in the line. She was just standing there singing and bless her heart, doing a terrible job at it, but she was doing something. She was singing her heart out. I'm sure she had nothing left to give but her voice, but she gave. And so did I. This is what makes the world go round. You have to work for your money. There was a time in my life, when I was getting off of drugs for the last time, that I had to rebuild my life from nothing. I didn't have anyone letting me live with them rent free, or giving me money while I pretended to look for work, or throwing pesos in my fucking cup. At some point you have to stand up, and stop feeling sorry for yourself and be the best person you can be instead of wallowing around in your misfortune.
I guess this really has nothing to do with this particular woman. My frustration lies with so many people's entitlement issues. This really isn't even an issue I typically have in Mexico. However, it's a constant issue in the United States. It's even more annoying in the Land of Opportunity because there is not as much of an excuse for the behavior due to the availabilty of unemployment benefits, Medicaid, food stamps, homeless shelters, etc. I suppose seeing that woman sitting outside the convenience store was the equivilent to seeing at least 20 people come into my work in the past month pretending to apply for a job and doing as bad as they can during the interview process to ensure they wouldn't get hired or lose their benefits either... Maybe I took out my frustrations on her. Maybe not.
I felt terrible for saying what I said after the fact. As I drove away the woman was glaring at me in that "I'm about to do some serious brujeria on your ass"-look. I got back to my house and promptly packed up a grocery bag with some rice, beans, canned veggies, maruchanas, tortillas, etc and went back to Bip Bip. (Not because I was afraid of possible spells, trust me. I just felt bad.) I gave her the bag and I apologized. I told her that it was hard for me to see her there sitting while her kids were working. I told her that if she really, truly wanted to work she should stand up and offer to clean someone's house, or wash someone's windows. I told her that I wished her the best and I am sorry I said something so rude. She started to tell me about how she didn't like the jobs in Juarez because they were too hard so now she was just homeless. Too hard? What? Was this woman seriously telling me that she could/did work but just didn't like it? Then she told me that I should feel bad for her because she doesn't have any family here in Juarez "like me." I told her that I didn't have any family in Juarez either and that before I moved here I lived without any family within 1000 miles in the US for a long time. Then she... GET THIS... opened the bag of food I brought and sighed and then rolled her eyes. She didn't even say thank you. At the same time a man came out of the store and put like 10, one peso coins in her cup and while she said gracias no less than 3 times. That got a smile out of her. I wasn't expecting anything out of this woman, but geez, not even a thank you? I told her good luck and left. The whole thing really got to me.
I understand that this woman, and these people coming into my work to pretend to fill out an application, do not represent all of those who are struggling in this world, by any means. I guess the thing is that I feel bad for the people that are truly struggling in life and just can't catch a break. These lazy, free-loaders are ruining it all for those people who really just need a helping hand.
I feel like there is a reason for everything happening in my life. I feel like there is a reason I was able to learn Spanish so easily and a reason we are forced to live here in Mexico. This must be a sign that I should give back, teach someone something or try to change the world... But how can you know who to help? I have learned recently that many people just don't want to be helped. They are content in their misery and their role of playing the victim. How can I weed out people who will scoff at a donated bag of beans from the people who will praise God for those beans and feed their family for a couple of days with them??
I don't know... I'm sure I will get slack for posting all of this and sound incredibly naive. I just don't understand why someone wouldn't want to better their life. I don't understand why people just give up. I don't know why so many people expect a fairy to come around and give them the world. I don't understand why people resign themselves to failure and I don't know how to end this blog. I suppose there is no end or solution to this eternal battle.