Watch your back

On Friday I had an interview for a part-time job working in a children’s residential treatment facility that’s near my house. They house everything from violently disturbed children, to those with drug problems or mood disorders, to foster kids waiting on placements. The interview lasted over an hour and went really well, I think. My interviewer did a lot of writing as I was talking.

Next I got to tour the facility, meet some other staff and meet some kids. The first unit we went into was the most unstable and violent of the 4 units they have there. As soon as we walked in, a girl was flipping out, standing on a chair trying to rip the light out of the ceiling and screaming. It took 4 adults to hold her down (I swear!), and she got in a pretty good punch to one of them. Right before that, apparently, 4 of the kids had gotten into a violent brawl in the playground.

No fucking way, I thought to myself. I can’t do this. We went on, however, and I made friends with a 7-year-old boy outside on the playground that kept wanting to show me stuff. “Wanna see something really freaky?” he’d ask, and then proceed to go across the monkey bars, skipping two at a time. He was extremely sweet and it was difficult to imagine how he could be in the “violent” ward.

After that, however, I met another staff member outside who advised me to remove my tie. And then he added, “Maybe your belt too,” but I left that on.

The other units were more calm. I played UNO with 3 teenagers, one of which was wearing a Go-Go’s shirt and got into a good-natured argument with one of the boys about whether or not her outfit was “emo.” Another very polite boy showed me his water-color paintings he’d done of trains and buses. His spirits were high until he showed me the paintings and he then became very withdrawn and melancholy. I wonder what they mean to him.

I hope I get the job, even though the idea of it kind of scares the shit out of me. It would be an “on-call” position, which just means I would fill in on shifts they need filled. So I could work as much or as little as I want, basically. Which would be perfect for being in school.

I’ve started recognizing various people around my neighborhood lately. One guy I see at the grocery store I’ll see at the coffee shop. I often see the same people on the bus over and over. I like that. It makes me feel like I’m actually living here.

Today I spent the afternoon reading Colette while lying in the sun in Laurelhurst Park. I really like her. A lot. And I love that park. Its beauty can’t be overstated.


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