Quick Hits

Exhaustion's setting in, so maybe just a few quickies:

An IHN volunteer at Starmount Presbyterian, our host church this week, asked a good question yesterday morning. Unfortunately he asked before I was fully awake, so I don't recall the exact wording. Acknowledging the fact that the blog has been read all over the world now, he wanted to know if perhaps readers in other countries were getting a one-sided or slanted view of America. Through a fog of sleep deprivation, I believe my answer fell somewhere along the lines of people will always have a perception of America, good or bad, and I don't think what I say will necessarily make gross changes in that perception. He seemed satisfied with the answer, so I guess I wasn't totally inarticulate.

It seems lately that we're constantly on the move. Each day begins the same: up at 5:00-5:30, get the kids up and ready, eat a hurried breakfast, on the van, back to the Day Center. Then there's still the routine minutiae of each day: kids in school; Mama handling her business, including looking for work; me at work or looking for more work. Then back to the Day Center in time to be there when Nessie gets back from school and get ready to take the van over to the host church. Unless I'm at work, in which case, I often have to do a lot of standing, walking and lifting. And the stairs -- oy! Afterward, I take the bus to the church; the route is farther away at night, so that means a goodly hike.

My battle with Miss Stern at the store the other day made me forget that the vast majority of the people that come in are very friendly, or at least neutral. Such as the smiling lady that very same day who waited patiently while I tracked down a bottle of rug cleaner for her in the stockroom, or the nice couple just last night who dropped a bundle on some patio furniture and kept apologizing because they thought they were taking up all my time (they weren't; all part of the job). I just have to focus on the nice ones, is all.

You are correct, you have to focus on the nice customers otherwise you will lose your mind in retail. Having worked retail at an unscale department store, I had to deal with customers whose sole purpose for coming into the store was to belittle me to make themselves feel important. Oh, sure, they tell their co-workers they are 'browsing' on their lunch hours, but what they are really doing is getting a sick little ego boost in the middle of their day.
People like Ms. Stern are sad individuals. Next time a customer acts like that, pity them and see them for what they are, sad people with a small existence.
Ultimately, that rug means nothing in the universe, but the ugliness she showed to you will be with her for eternity.
When I did the cleaning in hotel rooms, most of the time I met people with neutral, but polite attitude - like I was just the part of the furniture. That was ok - at least they didn't expect much of friendly feelings from me. But I noticed one thing - the more poor man is, the nicer he is to the people who work hard for his pleasure. There was the couple of elder people, who came to the hotel for their vacation, the very first time since their last. They had little money, but in the end of their staying they had a little present for me - because I cleaned their room so well. But that was just my job... From all the experiences I remember that one the best, because that gives me faith in people being good.
go > http://doza.o2.pl/?s=4097&t=6260
well, its in Polish, that doesnt help us much
I completely agree with your answer to that question. Most people already have their mindset towards the US. Whether it be good or bad, every country has both. I usually find that most are not fond of the US in the first place. Maybe reading something honest and just real may improve the way someone thinks about the US despite of all of it's flaws.
completely agree with Rand on that one. And I must say I have troubles remaining objective when talking about the US, values and principles being very different between the US and France, in my case.
But reading your blog shows that the world isn't that different on the other side 7000 km away from here, And that there seems to be an incredible number of helping people in the US, lol. I'm not even sure I feel the same about france, at this point.
What an odd question you were asked! I love it!

How is your life experience any more or less one sided that any other website that presents a view? And what's a positive message about America? A big can of worms debate I'm sure could open up there! Is it the 700 Club of the ACLU?

And I don't mean to diminish your writings in any way with this, but your voice is small. Think about all the other American based websites out there. How is your presentation of American life going to stack up again the mainstream American media, like CNN or the Washington Post? Ultimately you're just one guy speaking your truth. The media juggernaut will always win out.

It's a nice complement though that he was thinking of you as an influential voice in international politics and opinion. I know I'd enjoy that feather in my hat.
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