A few others were from elderly people seeking affordable or free transportation. I had very few phone calls in which I was able to offer viable happy solutions, or options to the caller's problems.
My last phone call of the day was the most frustrating. One that almost made me lose my compassion, my empathy, and brought me very close to not holding my tongue. Something I have noticed in the past few weeks of being on call, is at least once a day I receive a call from someone who has a source of income from the government, but have currently spent it all, have no way of earning any, and seem to feel they are entitled to any extra money that is available. But my agency has no actual money to give them, I have at my fingertips and in my brain a variety of charitable resources, but those do get depleted, the caller then becomes very angry when I am not forthcoming with a source of unlimited funds. Several have even told me that they had tried the resources I gave, but they want too much information, or it is too difficult to get to them. Most are within blocks of each other.
Anyway...that last phone call...tied in with one I had received earlier in the day from a woman calling in looking for a place to stay for a pair of homeless men. Both ill it seemed and living in their car. There was a lot of conversation that basically went nowhere, because they were not willing to visit one of the local homeless shelters, nor, it seemed the free health care provided for the homeless in our city. When I asked how she was going to give them the information I had given her, since she lives in another city, she told me they had recently purchased a pay as you go cell phone. OK.
The phone call...I answered the phone, and was immediately berated by a man because there is no place in the city for him to stay. He then began to list all of his illnesses and problems, without letting me interject a word. I finally got the opportunity to name the shelters and agencies available for emergency funds, and he then told me those won't work for him, He then told me that he just wanted $10.00 for gasoline. Which he is living in. By this time I have pretty much decided he is the very same homeless man I had received the call about earlier, and when he mentions a woman's name...I know for sure it is indeed he. I almost bit my tongue trying not to say..."Stand in front of the theater and panhandle for the ten bucks! If you can spend money on a cell phone then you need to think more about your priorities."
But I didn't say it. I apologized for the hard time he was having, reminding him that it was close to 5 o'clock on a Friday, and a holiday weekend at that. He was quite rude before he hung up on me. I tried to tell myself he was sick, he was tired, he was frustrated and in crisis mode, and I was the easiest person to blame. But, the more phone calls I get like his, the more I begin to wonder...where did this sense of entitlement come from? The thing is...all I really wanted to say was, "Tell me where you are, and when I am done at five, I will stop by and give you the $10.00". But I didn't, even though I have done it before, and will probably do it again. Instead, I reminded myself that this man and his friend had options, he was just not willing to take those options because they required some effort on his part.
This whole subject, sometimes puts a fright in me, I can see how very easy it would be to find myself in their very same circumstances, to find myself out of work for whatever reason, to find myself standing on line at a food bank, or, at a shelter hoping for a place to sleep. But, I truly do not believe that I would expect help and not give something back. There is a saying I have heard many times throughout my life, "What goes around comes around." Another way of saying "We reap what we sow."
I believe this, if I am given, I must give back. Tere was a movie made several years ago...I believe the title was Pay It Forward, based on the premise that when ever a favor or good deed is done for you, you do the same for someone you see in need. I try to live my life in that way, I try not to expect a return, I try not to expect that I must receive for my good deed (I receive anyway, because it feels good), but I have always hoped that when I have given to someone, they in turn will give to the next person they find in need.
* * * * * * *
I arrived home this evening, and decided to wrap some Christmas gifts. The scissors were missing, and I knew that Miss Daughter had been the last one to use them. I entered her room, looking on all available services, when I spy an unopened pack of cigarettes lying on the floor in front of her chair. I think, "Well darlin', I told you I would not search your room, but this is just too easy." I pocketed them, found the scissors, and went to my room to begin wrapping. She noticed them missing, and went storming off to her dad, accusing him of taking her cigarettes. He then came upstairs, to ask me if I had taken them. I, of course, said,"Yes I did, it is illegal for her to have them, illegal for her to purchase them, and she is not smoking in our house." He proceeded to tell me, he does not want to fight with her about it, and, he will not be in the middle of it. I told him, "That's was quite okay with me."
Miss Daughter then came in, and asked me if I had taken them, I told her exactly how I found them, and she said, "Yes, I knew Ileft them lying about, but that you should give them back." I responded with a, NO, and my reasons. She then proceeded to tell me that I owed her the money for them. She is sending flames of anger toward me, with her eyes during all of this. And, being speaking in a very scathing tone. I repeated my reasoning. She repeated that I needed to repay her. Storming off, she then asked her dad to take her over to a her boyfriends house. Which of course he did. All this while I am sitting on the floor of my bedroom, wrapping the gifts I had recently purchased for her.
And I thought, "I picked these out with love, I picked these out, because I thought she would feel some delight in receiving them. I picked them out and am carefully wrapping them to please her."
We havw finally gotten back to a bare semblance of our previous relationship, but, if I allow/ignore her smoking, I feel as if I am condoning her behavior, as if I am going against my beliefs. We are now back to a week ago. I already miss her, I already miss her coming to me and talking to me about her relationship problems, I already miss our shopping trips, I already miss so much, but I don't know how to be any different. I know that cigarettes at her age are not that bad, it is something many teens do, and maybe I am wrong, but it feels more wrong to just allow it to happen, it feels dishonest, it feels irresponsible.
I wanted to go to her, and tell her that this was the choice she made, that when she blatantly breaks the rules, blatantly throws her rebellion in my face, that I feel as if I must be the parent, I cannot be her friend. I am her mother, and as her mother I must try to protect her in whatever form that takes.
Thus, I sit om front of my computer, with my secret blogs, my secret wishes and desires, and I sometimes feel guilty about them...but when I rationalize, I do think it would be worse if I just threw it all out there in the faces of those that love me, they would be unhappy/shocked to find that there are times when I am unable to just be their wife/mother/daughter/aunt/friend/coworker, there are times that I need more in my life than the roles I play for them, even if the definitions of those roles have been in large part set by me.
I finally have a wish for this Christmas, a wish that I won't get, a wish that it will take a huge effort from me to accomplish, because I am the only one who is going to be willing to swallow my beliefs, even my pride (because it is involved too) , and take the steps needed...
I want my abnormal imperfect but loving family back.