I talk to the woman who empties our trash. I talk to her because I decided that she needed someone to listen to her. Maybe. I don’t know, maybe it was a Christian thing—be nice to the people that make your life better doing menial things. Plus she’s messed up. She’s somebody that you could easily see living underneath a bridge, or sitting in the weeds while some man stands begging in the median with a cardboard sign.
Because she’s totally crappy at cleaning people started talking to her meanly and it bothered me. I just think she doesn’t know how to clean, doesn’t care about learning how to clean because her boss doesn’t care. All she wants to do is get done on time and get a paycheck at the end of the week. Have I mentioned I work in a government facility? This means getting the job done is not one of the criteria, though there’s a big pretend game going on about it all the time. So being crappy isn’t all that uncommon, it’s just noticeable when the job tasks are cleaning toilets and dusting and emptying the trash more or less regularly.
So anyhow, my heart broke for her. And what did I do today to help? Indulged in my natural tendency to tell people what they ought to do to stand up for themselves when they’re not listening and don’t need my advice to begin with. I caught myself doing it and I quit, but still. I wish I were better at keeping my mouth shut.
The thing that got me going was her talking about her dumbass 15-year-old boy telling someone she was crazy, after she’d just introduced him to this person. That, and the fact that she admits he’s got her “wrapped around his finger.” And her statement that the guy she works with a is a roommate, “sometimes more.” The guy is a dwarf troll with the…. It doesn’t matter. He’s horrid. If he told me I was crazy I’d cut his throat and leave him in the gutter to bleed to death. Happily. So she goes on about her son, her roommate, her daughter (who at 11 is still okay, “but just wait”). And my heart broke for her. I don’t know how to be nice to her without seeming patronizing and arrogant.
And what can I tell her that will get her out of that crummy life she has? Nothing that she’ll believe in or act on. Maybe that’s the part that breaks my heart – she’s locked into a mindset that won’t allow hope or desire to even knock at the door of her consciousness. And I don’t know what she could do with her life, but I do know she could do better than being abused by her own kids and some dwarf-troll-loser.
We learned this weekend from Ephesians 5: “Walk so as to be children of the light.”