New servers were recently acquired by a not-for-profit group dedicated to helping underprivileged mothers raise their infants, and all the papers that have ever been scribbled on for this cause must go through. Though the task is simple, the size of it is large; both the terrible handwriting and the "file by hugeass pile" system have made it seem a little daunting at times. We recently finished the first run through and are now organizing all the papers by the zone they originated in (why didn't we keep them like that in the first place ...?). The title of this entry is an ode to the indecipherable cursive that often plagues the forms. It took me an entire day to figure out that Kevin was not actually Kevin, but rather, Karen. The true meaning of "jolie arid jaw" still escapes me.
There are four people per shift, two shifts per day. Each group thinks the other group doesn't do squat. I know this because I spent about a week on the shorter duration of the evening team, after which the Temporary Powers That Be switched me to the longer morning hours. Apparently I outperformed almost everyone on both shifts on a regular basis, and in return, they gave me the additional hours and a 50 cent raise. This does require me to get up before dawn's had a chance to have a crack at my eyeballs, but I do not mind ... too much. Though leaving the house at six a.m. is horrid, the end result is a trickle of cash. The work does not require cleaning up or cooking for anyone, and because it does not require all my cognitive abilities, I am able to occupy myself by pondering about the organization and its people. I find that it is easier to think better of people in a not-for-profit atmosphere.
My favorite forms are the risk assessments, for they contain little clues about habits and environment. (This woman does not eat breakfast on a regular basis, but she does partake in carbonated beverages seven days a week. This woman does not clean her house regularly. This woman would like help with transportation.) As I type these up, I notice that for the most part, these women are average in behaviors, if below poverty line in income. Only a handful have troubles such as homelessness, drug use, or STDs.
When I thought a 15 year old child having a child was a heartbreaking event, I found files detailing the prenatal experiences of a 14 year old. And today, I have learned of a 13 year old girl who is pregnant for the first time.
This group has come into being to catch these struggling souls before they and their offspring are lost entirely to us. I keep on feeling that this group should not have to exist. Some say that it is the parents who failed their kids and thus perpetuated the cycle of young mothers who are not able to support themselves or their babies, financially or emotionally. But when these parents are mere children themselves, what can we expect to happen? Where did this chain begin? Is this what happens when a culture obsessed with youthful sexiness preaches idealism (abstinence) rather than teaching realism (expounding upon and distributing various forms of birth control)?
There are, doubtless, countless other reasons for the depressing stories that I catch hints of through these carbonpaper forms. The situation is not a new one. Strangely, I feel somehow responsible for this state of affairs. Obligated, almost. In the small ponds of my background, I was considered one of those youths who have leadership "potential." I have little desire to devote myself to a career of politics at this stage in life, but how do I go about making amends without mending goverment policies that very likely influence the greater sphere of our daily reality? The question seems as difficult to answer as the problem that spawned it.