Posts Tagged ‘International Ave’

Unexpected Free Time

July 18, 2013

Is not always something that I look forward to.

In fact, it rather fills me with dread, and there it is, the emotion I have been feeling all day, but until just now, did not realize was there.

I dread down time.

I don’t know what to do with myself and I have two weeks of it coming up.

The main family I nanny for will be in Tahoe for two weeks.

I will have my normal Tuesday gig, but other than that, nada.

I have been socking away the money from work pretty regular and have my fingers crossed to  have the deposit ready to go on the studio/in-law as well as maybe a little extra scratch to buy some household stuff.

Now, with two weeks of down time on my hands not only did I begin to get anxious about the lack of money coming in, I began to get anxious about spending the money I have managed to squirrel away.

Then I got anxious about being anxious.

Anxiety, fuck you, man.

I feel better after the bike ride, although not because it was a calm and relaxing ride home, it never is, but that the air felt good on my skin, the sun was still warm, but I was not too hot, I was goosebumped with gratitude when I saw the girls on every corner between 17th and 19th on International.

Thank you god for not having me be a hooker today.

There but for the grace of.

Fuck me.

I juggled checking out with some popcorn and ice cream in my head but I know that shit don’t work and counting days again around my abstinence is not something I want to do (18 to be exact) again.  I want to go back to counting years.

The bike ride was some exercise and that always does me good.

I had a good dinner.

I have had a nice cup of tea.

I did a few e-mails for the design firm, there, see, there is an hour or two that will be devoted to that.  And I also sent a text message to the families I do a day a week for letting them know I had open availability.

Date night anyone?

I got it.

I also tried to tell myself, with varying degrees of success, that there was something awesome that was going to happen.  I suddenly have two weeks off, except Tuesdays, that leaves a lot of time for adventures.

I could go to the museums, do the MOMA, the Legion of Honor, the DeYoung.  I have not been go any of the museums since I got back.

I could write.

Struggling with that a little.

The blogging and the morning pages are really important, but I have to creates some more writing for me.  I just get uneasy in my skin, questioning, again, what I am doing and why.

Neither of which are important, just doing the writing.

I could find an open mic to go to.

I could go dancing.

I could do a ferry ride to Sausalito or Tiburon.

I could make dates to see friends.

I could be open for an adventure.

I don’t have to know specifically what it is.

Or I could get other work, that could happen, part-time nanny gigs, or other work, I am open to doing other work.  I have to remind myself of that, other work.  I have this mentality at times that I will be stuck as a nanny all my life and I get weary of that outlook.

I had a touch of that today, the nanny malaise.

Helpful though, that my charge was such a pumpkin, she woke up in the most amazing mood.  I would have too, after having a two-hour and forty-five minute nap!

We went for a walk, picked wild black berries, I went to the bank and took out forty bucks for walk around cash, although I did not buy anything, I just like a bill or two in the wallet.  We went to the park, it was full of kids, but not too many, just the right mix of big kids to little kids.  We walked back to her house holding hands, I picked her jasmine blossoms and she ate “nanny mix” from a little plastic pink tub (today’s nanny mix: Annie’s Cheddar Organic Bunnies, dehydrated banana slices, Puffs, O’s, organic wheat crackers, and raisins).

And when I was having the worst I want to check out thoughts, which is just a way for me to hide from the fear, she pinched my arm.

She pinches when she gets anxious, which was an alert for me, my anxiety was coming across even if I wasn’t actively engaging in eating a pile of donuts, my mind was occupied.

And where did she pinch me?

The underside of my left arm, you know, the flap of skin that hangs there so delicately, like a flabby wing of flesh reminding you of every indulgence you ever took.

Thanks kid.

I took the hint and just breathed through the rest of the day.

None of this stuff is new and I wonder what it is that I need to learn or change in my relationships with myself and my environment, with my job and my fear of financial lack.

“You will keep repeating the same relationships until you have finished learning what you need to learn,” she said to me as I expressed my disillusionment with a room-mate situation.

Indeed.

So what is being learned here?

And can I take the knowledge in without checking out or trying to not feel?

Let’s fucking hope so.

I can’t handle another donut attack.

Some Times You Have To Walk Away

June 11, 2013

She was crying and her small cocoa face crumbled up in tears and her mouth opened wide and I could see her little two-year molars cutting through her gums.

The tears flew out of her eyes and she held her small arms out to me pleading.

Mean while my little blonde elfin waif child clung to me and pinched my arm, “home, home, home, home, home,” she demanded.

She had been fine with her new friend until said new friend had clambered up me and I suddenly had two little girls, just a few weeks apart in age clinging to my arms.

I have been here before it is not such a bad thing to have two cuddle bunnies in my arms, but I had to put the other little girl down and she did not want me too.

Her grandmother was not helping, “she like you.”  She said pointedly and watched her grand-daughter wail away as I gathered all of our things together.

“I like her too,” I said with a smile, “she is a sweet little girl”.

The grandmother extended the child back to me, “no, I am sorry, I can’t hold her any longer, I have to take care of this one.”

Some times you want to take care of them all.

Some times you have to walk away.

It broke my heart and I could see every ounce of neglect etched into her small body, every solid meal denied, every bit of purple flavor popsicle shoved into her hand to get her to go away.

“You shouldn’t her hold upside down too long,” the grandmother had said a few minutes earlier as I tossed her gently in my arms, “I only got the one diaper on her and it’s gettin’ full.”

Oh fuck me.

I thought about handing her a diaper.

I thought about handing her the entire diaper bag.

Not my property to part with.

Then on the other spectrum there were the two little girls that rolled up in their miniature G-LS Class Mercedes-Benz black SUVs–motorized.  The pulled up just ahead of their daddy into the playground and led a cluster of children like the Pied Piper to surround them throng like in worship.

“Whoa,” one little boy said, “look at them rims.”

Indeed.

REALLY.

Drug dealers got kids too.

Or parents want themselves to look like they are drug dealers?

I don’t know.

It was just such a surreal moment to be nestled in, the Hispanic/German/Polynesian nanny with her white as white can be little girl charge.  And I don’t look like a traditional nanny either, “wow, look at her tattoos,” a little girl said to me earlier.

There were so many clichés happening I just about forgot to count them all.

Then the blind black man in the corner came tap, tap, tapping with his cane and his cadre of older heavy-set, but still lithe black women came into the park.

Every Monday there is some sort of mixed martial arts class that is taught.

One of the students rolls by in her car, turns up the stereo and Motown floods the playground.  I danced my little girl around and took her up and down the swirly slide until she wanted to go investigated the SUVs which had been parked by the dinosaur slide to be abandoned by their drivers, watched over by the dad who let the line up of little kids stare at the cars and gently touch the hoods, but did not let them get into them.

Show pieces indeed.

The class of four women, one blind black mane instructor, and a homeless dude that just decided to join up, stretched and starting to ki-ai in the back ground.

The elementary.

Whoa.

Fuck.

Gunshot.

That was a gunshot.

Where was I?

Elementary school next to the play ground let out and the entire yard was flooded with kids.

It was neat.

Neat is the word.

The mixture of kids in the playground, black, Hispanic, Asian, white kids, mulatto kids, all sorts of mixtures and ethnicities, the hipster white mid-twenties male teacher/monitor with Ray Bans on telling the kids the rules to the kick ball game, all hodge podge and tossed together in the bowl of the park.

I loved it.

I did not like walking away from the crying child, but I am not responsible for all the little ones in the world.  I just can’t be.  I am barely responsible to myself.

Today as I watched a rail thin mother so eradicated by crack jitter across the street in front of my bicycle as I came home on International Avenue, I thought to myself, “thank God I am not smoking crack.”

And as I flew by I saw the crown of a baby in the back seat carrier of the car.

“Thank God I don’t have any children of my own today,” flew out of my mouth.

I can’t imagine, despite having lived through some horror and neglect, the patina of time has tarnished the images and softened the impact, having children in East Oakland and having to turn tricks with them in the car to score crack.

Cannot.

I got to say I am going to take a pass on that experience.

Grateful that I do get to walk away, or ride away, as the case was, to admire instead the purple sky frosted with lavender and edged with ripe peach pink clouds sunset dusted palm trees hazing into the twilight.

So much beauty.

You just have to open your eyes to it.

Perhaps it was the stark contrast that made my heart open wider to accept in the gifts of the light or perhaps it was the long, fulfilling (I worked two different kinds of job today) day at work, something about the sky made me forget the crack and the crack babies, the potholes in the road and the jacked up El Camino that kept circling me, it was glorious.

I felt like I was indeed riding off into the sunset.

In East Oakland.


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