June 2nd, 2003

journies begin with the first step

Annoyance amoung the masses....

So I sit in my office, managing the assisted housing of our very low income Kentucky residents, and find myself fighting the fight or flight response on a moment to moment basis. A year ago as of June 4th, I decided to take this career path as a means to an end; the end being paying my rent. What I thought was, yeah there is bound to be a lot of governmental paperwork in triplicate, but hell, I can handle it. What I didn't know was that on top of the paperwork in quadruplet, I would have to deal with the tentacle tenants with their ever-lovin' wants and complaints.

"I need this filled out, I have an appointment in five minutes"

"I forgot to tell you that I've been working for two months, but can we hold off on the recertification until next week? I plan on quitting"

"Can't we just forget about the employment verification and put it under the table?"

"I want my miniblinds put up now!"

"Cindy is telling everyone that you are intravenously injected drugs into your legs"

blah, blah, blah. I feel like I'm in a never ending jabber chamber. Today was it! I did not get to leave my office for 6 hours after lunch except for one 20 minute period when I went to show an apartment, and that's when things got interesting. I exploded all over the poor and strained faces that were my tenants. Person after person that walked up to me when I was coming back to the office was told off, ordered to cease and desist, and put back in their place. I know it was extreme, and perhaps unprofessional, but my fuse was lit and they were providing the fuel. I finally got some temporary peace, or so I thought.

Some days I just want to leave it all. Pile the paperwork, verifications, and rent checks on the desk and walk the hell out. Maybe then I would discover my love of learning, challenges, and humanitarianism again. Or maybe I'm so jaded now, that nothing would ever help me.

I have seen more of the desperate state of America in the last year than ever before. What have I learned? That despite my liberal ideals, welfare is in desperate shape. People are living not on their social security but on disability checks on their children. People would rather quit a minimum wage job and live off my paycheck than have to pay $68 in rent. That there are more bad parents than I ever realized. That children want to grow up to live in Section 8 housing so they "don't have to pay high rent". That no matter how much you give some people, they still want more. That a high school student would rather leave the comforts of home in a well to do family to live on a project and do what they want. That I can get more depressed, just by watching unrealized lives go by.

It's hard to believe that welfare ever got this far, and harder still that I can sit and watch.