Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A year of Change

At 4:00 PM, I received a call that my bridge would be ready tomorrow. They expected delivery today but they expect them to be delivered in the morning. It was hard to believe that they were ready.

If they are ready tomorrow morning, I will be totally ready for a job interview that I will have at 3:00PM. I can not tell you how many times I worried about having street shoes, teeth, a suit, a proper business shirt and tie for the kind of positions for which I have always interviewed.

I spent thousands of hours agonizing that I would never get passed the interview because I did not have the proper attire, let alone passing the background check.
I never thought I would get to the point where I could even ask the court to consider some changes.

Each minute seemed like days. Each day felt like years. When emotional pain hit, each second felt centuries long.

I was released from jail February the 7, 2006, one week from Today. I met hundreds of men at the Transition House. Many of them came to rest in between combat duty in the cocaine killing fields of the streets of Skid Row. Many of them became casualties of the "Rock", an enemy that always evaporates but never goes away. It returns, mysteriously, waiting to ambush the best of men.

A healthy percentage of the men that are not in the streets puffing their life away are in jail or prison, apprenhended by the law for violations of parole or probation. Some have new cases from selling drugs after being clean for an extended period. The temptation was too much. Their memories of the past were too short.

One man fought to see his son and he self distructed before his son's arrival. The fear was too great. I know how he felt. I remember many times in the past when I self distructed. I shared with you the time a friend from back east came to visit me and I helped her in San Diego. I was so nervous I smoked away 30 -40 pounds as well as a potential relationship. It was long ago. I will never forget.

Men have died in my presence in the last year. One man lay on his back one morning, spread eagled. He had been dead for 8 hours but everyone thought he slept in an awkward position until the lights came on and his eyes were wide open.

Recently, I have seen some things that concern me about the path that some people down here are taking. They come up to me and confess they have slipped. They need to talk about it because they know they lost something. They can continue being clean but their is an intangible quality about them that they fear they will not regain.

One year year later and the year is far from over. I remember thinking I had 5 more yards to finish cocaine comsumption. I knew I had just a little ways to go. People in my own neighborhood knew it. I had changed. However it was the last five yards that were the hardest. I had to travel 100 miles between each yard to understand, to appreciate to absorb.

I crossed the goalline and I never looked back. I swore that I was not going to let whatever circumstances come my way be a reason to go backward. I never did.

These hard times have propelled me forward in ways I can not describe and there are few that have this perspective that can guide me through the menagerie of understanding that will keep revealing itself as time marches on.

I am ready for the interview tomorrow. I am ready for the interview on Monday.
I will go home tonight and revise some resumes and will be ready for future unknown places to be interviewed if I get the desired call backs. I will be ready for the court date next week. The last five yards will be an interesting road to travel within the next coming days. I experienced two years of changed perspective within the last few days. Productivity. Efficiencies. Words that are common economic buzz words but have great intimate significance in the daily course of my life.

It is time to go. I must walk through the toy district. I must see the twinkling lights of downtown. My mother loved looking at these lights down here. I love them as well. I want to see what else will be different for me in the next few days before the year is out. I am working hard to make more changes. It is like a campaign. You never stop. You keep going. You keep shaking the hands of life.

You never stop. You keep going. Good night.


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