Sunday, April 10, 2005

There's headaches and then there's headaches.

Ooohhh I've got a headache.

I'm trying to take myself out of the situation I'm in, but being inside it, it's a lil bit hard.

Today I called my parents house, spoke to my mama a bit, and then talked to JW.
JW, Insha'Allah, will be graduating high school in May. That's cause for celebration, but what follows is not. He only applied to two universities, the one where our mother works and University of Memphis, in Tennessee.

Now, my parents both know the evil of loans; the only reason they have the house they live in now is because my mother got her BS and MS in Biochemistry on full scholarships, and then my father went to school at the university where she works for almost a full tuition remission. Had they been working under average school loans, even for just my father, they'd never have been able to save enough for the house while raising 3 kids. (I don't think my father was supporting IG at the time, from the family lore I've heard on the subject.)

All this to say, they're campaigning for JW to stay at home and take class for about $1,600 a semester, at the unviersity of Mom. If he stays on campus, it'll cost $6000 per semester, which he'd have to pay with loans. That's after tuition remission, since JW has earned no scholarships and definitely no favors from university administration. In fact, I'm surprised they admitted him after the fraud he committed on the university computers 2 years ago. The kid is brilliant and a troublemaker.
Everyone takes the opportunity of my phone call, which I made because I was stressed and just wanted to hear some unconditionally loving voices, to ask my opinion. And I gave it: I told my mother that I think tis best if JW stays on campus his freshman year. Then I began to think of all the factors involved.

JW is an incredibly smart child- and yes, he's still a child in too many ways. I'm upset at him for only applying to two schools, because he belongs in a great music and or tech school somewhere, but the thing is, I also feel like he could use a couple more years of parental support. He's still doing stupid isht two months before his 18th birthday. I don't think he understands that 18 is a magic, gilded line- after that, as we said my freshman year at GWU, "they can throw you in real jail and swallow the key". I think he's got the talent for, say, Berklee or Juilliard (sp?), but in Boston or NYC he'd get his ass killed saying or doing the wrong thing to the wrong person.

So my mama puts JW on the phone, and we talk for about 20 minutes, during which time I let him know that loans are worse than my parents are telling him, since they didn't actually have to pay any themselves, and that really, he has the option to go to another school outside of da Nati. He didn't know / hadn't thought about the possibility of transferring after his freshman year to another school. I told him that that would brighten his chances, especially if he does stay at home, save money, and get kick-ass grades. Any college could take that as proof that he's grown up a bit after his high school highjinks, and then hopefully he'd be able to handle himself as a young black man away from home. Because I'll tell you, all the Black men I knew in college went through various issues, some heavy and some not- and all of them are INCREDIBLY smart, and VERY mature. JW's got the first, but not really the second. I finish by letting him know what no one told me when I was his age and needed to hear it; that I was in a position to do absolutely anything, but that working for it would be the hardest thing I'd ever have to do, and that the sacrifice would absolutely be worth it. Had I known that I NEEDED to work as hard as I did when I got to college, I'd be in an entirely different place right now. JW gets really quiet and actually tells me that he's thinking about what I'm saying and that he'll call me. Which either means he's gonna try to make a good decision or he's reading more into what I said then what I meant. Lord knows how things will turn out either way.

Headache number one.

This conversation took place as I was making my way to PB for the afternoon shift. Being that it's the domingo after the burial of the pope, things are even slower than usual here in portareeco. But do you know I got passed at two different bus stops TWICE by two different drivers?! I arrived an hour and forty minutes late to work, which already made me tense. I arrive and see that KarLi and Ale are already working.
But at one point, I had like 4 tables going, which was a record for the evening. One portuguese lady comes in with two kids, they get 2 hamburgers and three drinks for about $21. Then they get ice cream, and I forget to enter it in the POS. Oops. I took her the check, and then, after Neli, the manager, glares at me , I return to the table and let the nice woman know that I forgot to add the ice creams. I bring back the check and the lady says, "TwennyTwo!" (I ask all my customers to call me by name.

"Mande Usted?"
"Quanto e um gelato?"

I feel my heart sink. This doesnt' look good for what would've been a $4 tip.

"Sao $3.95 por cada uma, Senhora," I reply in my half-forgotten portuguese.

"Ah, OK. Muchas Gracias".

The lady thanks me profusely on her way out, and I go to clean the table (the cheapasses at PB have no busfolk). She hasn't left a tip.


Headache number two: I'm then sent home early because of the slow night. After arriving late and getting stiffed on a tip. Hooray. Remember, the goal is $500 by next Friday, or Twennytwo won't make it into Columbia Dreamskool of Public Health.

I found the greatest blog earlier: check it out, or, I forget how tis spelled.

Yall pray for me if you pray, and if you don't pray, I'll pray for you.

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