Remember the scene from Aliens. Ripley and the crew are streamlining from space to crash land on a planet that’s failed to send a radio signal from the headquarters for the past several days. They coast the zero-gravity frontier, tightly locked into their seat, huge gun in hands (which could only be handled for two hands)... and shhhhhhhhkoooooom! Their pod disengages with the coasting ship as they fall faster, and faster, to plunge into the alien infested planet.
Call me conceptual… or just think about calling me conceptual, but that’s how I feel the past 20 minutes just went down. Traffic-ridden streets of downtown Milwaukee, rain spilling from the winter sky, and headlights speeding through space with no sight of the vehicle steering them, we land in the beloved city and nest to the most bars per-capita in the U.S. The downpour covers moving vehicles out of sight, which you could only tell their momentum from headlamps and street lights bouncing off the windshield. I’m dropped off at Rochambo, a favorite coffeeshop, founded unbeknownst a few years ago during a morning-after-show-walk-of-shame-hangover-coffee-now-or-else-hulk-smash kinda fix. Place has always been the filing grounds for landing in Mil. The show’s in River West, and would’ve loved to get dropped there… not without a switch blade, six-shooter, and nothin’ to lose in my back pocket. Rochambo will do, for now.
I can’t get the kid’s eyes outta my head. Just several days ago, I started a new day-job as a paraprofessional at an early childhood center. I won’t use his real name, I won’t even use the city’s name I’m working in, however- let's call him Sid… and Sid can read a face like Ray Lewis eyeing a shitty offense. He pierces bs, baby-talk, tonality, eyebrow shifts, and any small muscle tinge or movement in his radius of sight & peripheral. The school’s asked me to accompany him for the rest of the school year, as things haven’t gone this well with him for the entire year... until this past week of working one-on-one with me (Says his teacher. Absolute amazing woman. Her method of dealing and conducting a classroom is relative to using the force for good (ref: Star Wars). I’d pat myself on the back, but youth work is a career of constants, not a means of “hey, we made it” celebration for the naïve. Youth is a crackpot war ground where kids give no f--- to reset the smile they just gave you and throw you against the wall for the shooting squad. Kids could give a s--- less what your agenda is for the day, you’re on their time- and the only cats that might be able to garner respect is their parents (and/or grandparents). This isn’t to say kids are shitheads, it is to say that adults have absolutely lost a grasp on what it means to not only respect youth, but open themselves up to letting a youthful imagination spark their own… again.
Our brains get hardened over the course of academia bullshit, American over-dreamt cubicle pay checks, and the here-all end-all of “what we do for our living”. Seldom do we step aside and ask ourselves, “I am living. What am I doing about it?” Sid’s turned to me several times in the past week, and pointed out details in a room I’d never pick up on otherwise. He’s tuned to an angle of life that I’d never privy my better senses to, had I not met him.
With Sid’s perspective face-smack and kickass progress since we’ve met, I’ve run into a quandary of taking the job to work with him for the rest of the school year, or take a job in the same district (more hours) dealing with truancy. One of those questions I’ll file in the “figure it out later” bin. Commitment… word of the week, weekend, and on.
Our first Ricky TV episode... Hmm, I'll explain more about this later: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl1w_Vth1a8