I know what I believe, yet I so often don’t act on it.

Last night, some friends came by. Folks that took care of our animals while we were gone.

Our friends are poor. Poorer than you’d like to think working people can be in the United States of America. They can barely afford 350 a month rent for a place with no heat (we gave them space heaters) and no protection from the elements. They live in an upstairs apartment that does have a door that locks, on their porch. It’s a covered porch, but its screened in. The doorway into their home has no door, so when its hot, its hot. When its cold, its cold. My friend Jim (not his real name) puts up plastic during the winter to try and keep the cold out.

A couple of months ago, there was a double homicide in the apartments below them. They awoke to gunfire from directly below them, and jumped in the tub cause as Jim likes to say, “bullets don’t got eyes.”

Jim paints houses, and mows lawns, and does pretty much any kind of work you could ask him to do. He’s nearly 50… has 5 kids, some grandkids, but he doesn’t see them as often as he’d like. They don’t come around as often as they used to. I’m not sure why, but I imagine I know.

Jim and Penelope have a hard life. But they are generally happy. We let them stay at our place while we were out of town for Thanksgiving. Well. Let isn’t really the right word. We asked them to take care of the animals while we were gone, and Penelope invited herself to stay at our place. Not very courteous, and kinda annoying. But that’s how she can be sometimes.

And we got back. The animals were well fed, and apparently had a fun time over the weekend. But dishes were left unrinsed, caked with crystallized sugar in some cases. I had a bottle of vodka and a bottle of gin that I bought to make drinks. They were emptied. The refrigerator had nasty handprints all over it, as did the microwave. We had a pound of sugar, that was used in 4 days. We had to throw out a bunch of food, because it was opened and not sealed (cheeses don’t do well in open air).

And I was mad. And Carrie was mad. We kinda still are mad I guess. None of this was done maliciously. I know that for sure. Its either ignorance, or a lack of respect. I’m a lazy son of a gun, so I know all about not putting stuff away or cleaning things properly. But I would never ever leave someone’s house the way mine was left.

But I can’t help feeling as though I shouldn’t be angry about this. One thing I’ve learned from living in our neighborhood is that the social norms that I learned growing up in middle to upper middle class white suburbia aren’t the social norms for the majority of the people in this country. So I don’t think anger is the right thing to feel. Maybe I should still talk to them about it, but at the same time, I don’t know if I’ll come off as condescending… Mr. Hoity Toity white guy telling folks how to keep stuff clean.

I’d appreciate any advice.


3 responses to “Frustration

  1. It sounds like they have a big problem with responsibility — and that may be part of the reason they’re in the situation they’re in today.

    Perhaps they were not brought up learning things like responsibility, thoughtfulness, being courteous, etc. But it is not too late to learn.

    I don’t know how to get that across to them in a positive way, but it is something they HAVE to learn if they want to enjoy any kind of success in life.

    Just my humble opinion…..

  2. sandra aseremo

    They are simply not taught how to live a life. My husband and I went through that, but its a lot worse. The woman open several phones account under my name. Apparently she did that to her dad thats why she and her kids got kick out. There is a difference between one that is done deliberately it is evil and wicked and there is one that is done out of ignorant. I rather have what you have. God is gracious to us if we done things ignorantly but blatant sin is no excuse. I would have been gracious and teach them how it is done around the house. Explain things why we put away the cheese, why we do not open the alcohol, and why this and that. I always like to put myself on the other people’s shoes and see from their perspective. God always wanted us to think outside the box and not just about ourselves.

  3. easiest: don’t ask them to take care of your pets.

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