Tag Archives: Campus protests

Choosing chaos

The problem isn’t that the system’s white.
The problem is that it’s a system at all.

I first meant to title this, “Choosing disorder,” but settled on using a word that’s a bit more edgy, and consistent with my past vocabulary.

There are interesting relationships among some words. Continue reading Choosing chaos

Appeals

Late in the composition of last week’s post, I came across an unexamined feature of Trump’s sway over the nation’s soul.

Emotions come first.
Ideas come later.

Continue reading Appeals

A theory of campus turmoil

Jack is a short, skinny, old white man with short, wiry gray hair and a short, wiry gray beard.  He uses a walker.  He’s been with us about three weeks.

Every day, he gets more irritable, more combative and more obscene.

Q.  What’s up with this?
A.  It’s so nice here, he can’t stand it.

Related:  Learning curve

Been there, done that.  I had a temp assignment at yet another major, prestigious law firm.  The atmosphere here was unlike that at any other law firm where I’d worked.  No cursing.  No stress.  On this one lawyer’s birthday, his secretary baked him a big cake, that he shared with staff, including people he didn’t even know.  Some unknown person paid my way to the offsite office Christmas party.

I didn’t know how to act.  I began to act like it.  They kept me on for six months, but I’m not welcome back.

Some months ago, riding a bus northbound on York Road, I gazed out the window wistfully as we passed Towson State University.  That campus: the vast, manicured lawns; neatly trimmed shrubbery; stately buildings; utter tranquility.  Young people of one background can be utterly happy there.  Young people of a different background might can’t.

It’s a question of how much malice pervades the world in which one grew up.

The reality is that some grow up in a world where one must be eternally vigilant for one’s own personal safety.  Where walking down the street, one may meet intense hostility at any time, and must be ready to answer that with hostility of one’s own in order to survive.  Where “watch your back” isn’t a metaphor: one turns one’s head slightly with every step, right and left, so that with every step one’s peripheral vision takes in 360° — lest some predator be stalking who means you bodily harm.

For such a person to be thrust into a world where none of that is necessary, can be unsettling.

Perhaps the pent-up hostility, previously essential to survive, may begin to come out.  Certainly the former real threats and danger can be succeeded by new, imagined ones.  One persists in feeling that the whole environment is hostile.

And one may want to respond in kind.

I have no solutions.  It may only help, to understand where some of these folk come from.

This program turned me away.

Adapted from a 12/03/15 e-mail to my brothers and some others.

Given instability at the shelter where I’ve been for almost five years, I decided to apply to a certain program affiliated with a major national charity and major local soup kitchen.  This program is residential, has a nice facility, and (as I understood it) was geared toward taking men with histories of addiction or homelessness and rendering them self-supporting.

Since it is a residential program, I would no longer have to carry my bags everywhere I go, vastly increasing the radius within which I can look for work; and, I supposed, I would be able to work any shift.  After all, unlike the shelter where I’ve been, they’ve got a big shove towards self-sufficiency.

They rejected me.

I wrote:

Baptismal grace means: when you get knocked down, you get back up.

Blog post (from October ’14, about getting back up): Life in the outer darkness

In the immediate future, I will be checking out options in transitional housing, and case management services at the clinic where I’m currently in treatment for everything I’m in treatment for.

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What happened?

Continue reading This program turned me away.