Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Thursday, May 20, 2004


You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Somebody was just lurking, outside my back gate. Porkchop started barking. That's why I'm awake at two in the morning, and probably won't go back to sleep. I don't want to oversleep and miss my chances at duck eggs and space at KUNM.

Here are my worries.

My stories are disappearing into unretrievable internet archives. When I search the News Dept. web page for "rogi" or "riverstone" or "scooter" or whatever the subject of my pieces, I'm getting no search results.

I can't remember what weeks those stories ran; everything's archived by week; I'll have to go through every week, from the time I started there. And I don't even remember that, so I'll have to ask Rachel.

There is NOBODY to post news on the internet right now. Leslie threw a photocopy of some sort of directions at me, but I can't make any sense of them. And she's out sick.

So, the web site is languishing. Nothing's been posted since the end of last week, when the work study student stopped working.

So, all my hard work is disappearing, before I get a chance to preserve it.

This includes the nukes story, which I was told was worthy of an award.

But nobody cares. I asked Marcos for help, but it's not his job. He knows HOW, though. Renee doesn't know how. And it's HER job. So, I'm getting a lot of shrugs, like it doesn't matter.

But it DOES matter. Most of the people who read my blogs -- in fact, most of the people who know me, at ALL -- can only access me by internet. I don't HAVE any friends in real time! The ONLY way my associates can access my work is via internet.

People at the station are much more real time than I. They don't understand.

So, if a person looked at the KUNM web site, under "news," they'd think we didn't HAVE any news this week.

Now, just about everybody else in the news dept. works for money. I work for nothing. But I've been doing it to "prove" I'm employable as a writer, as a journalist.

How can I prove anything, if nobody keeps up the web site? We're talking about SOUND, not print! The ONLY way I can put it into a resume or portfolio is via internet.

So, I'm getting screwed, nobody cares, I'm "bothering people," trying to fix it, my work is getting lost forever, and I can't do a damn thing about it!

I'm also getting jerked around about getting hired. First, I can be hired; then, I can't. Then, I'm told they don't know if they WANT to hire me. Then, maybe there will be room in the July budget....

When people are assigned stories, there's often discussion of the stories by reporters. They offer advice, background, etc.

Renee assigned Jeremiah a story on Margaret Sanger yesterday. I would have done a great job on it; I majored in Women's Studies for many years.

I mentioned eugenics to Jeremiah. Then, I mentioned that Katherine Hepburn is a relative.

Renee yelled, "I can't hear myself THINK!"

When THEY talk, it's ok. When I talk, I'm BOTHERING people!

I went home that night and found three REPUTABLE websites with background info on Margaret Sanger. I emailed them to Renee. No acknowledgement.

Jeremiah's story ran last night. I was there when Renee read over the copy.

I heard it when I got home.

Jeremiah, twice, said "R U four sixty eight."

It's "R U four eighty six."

Now, if I hadn't been shut out of the process, told to stay in my second class status, volunteer place, told to shut up and butt out, that mistake wouldn't have happened.

I'd have caught it in a heart beat. It's basic to feminist thinking.

Now, they're building an apartheid wall, to shut me in even more. They won't have to look at me or hear me.

Rather than INTEGRATING me into operations, they're SEGREGATING me FROM them.

...for my own good, don't you know.

My people are always the niggers on the backs of busses, the white trash that isn't welcomed, the drunken Indians who are shunned and laughed at.

I didn't go to KUNM to be isolated in a sound proof booth. I went there to be part of a community.

And, once again, I'm being told I'm not wanted. I'm being told I'm barely tolerated. They will physically change the structure of the news room, rather than make a sincere effort to interface with me.

I have a lot to teach.

They won't learn a damn thing from me like this.

Renee said, yesterday, that nobody wants to hear about my personal life.

I know about her 21 year old cat, her intestinal problems, one reporter's chemical dependency, another's kids, etc.

One of the things she sited, in addition to my announcements that I'm going for a cigarette or to pee, is when I was desperate to borrow five dollars, so my bank wouldn't charge me an overdraft fine.

IF they knew about my personal life, they'd understand that FIVE DOLLARS is the difference between security and homelessness! My personal finances GREATLY impact my ability to contribute to KUNM.

I didn't even have two dollars for friggin' GAS for a scooter that gets a hundred miles to the gallon, last week!

Why aren't I coming in earlier, like I used to, so I don't bother so many people, Rachel asked.

Because, I answered, last week, I had to take rides from Danny, cuz I couldn't get gas for the scooter!

I also lost out on DOZENS of free eggs because of that, by the way...if anybody cares.

Do you think I WANT to humiliate myself at KUNM, PANHANDLING????????

My works' good enough to submit for awards, but nobody can get me any MONEY????? Hell, they even resent letting me borrow field recording equipment, and make a big deal out of it? And don't give a damn that my hard work is disappearing into cyberspace, from which I can't retrieve it?

I'm staying. I need the money I can earn from FSRN and NNN.

Beyond that, I've EARNED the right to be there. I DESERVE this.

Shoot, people complain when I use the automatic door opener, for disabled people. They tell me I don't need it. That door must weigh nearly a hundred pounds! Sometimes, I need to use the damn motor, to open it. But the motor doesn't work right; most of the time, the door barely opens: less than an inch. At those times, the motor makes squeeking noises, trying to "close" the door after I go through.

That's not my fault. I'm not sqeeking. The door squeekes because no able bodied people have reported it to maintainance.

No disabled people have, either. Which indicates to me few need to use it.

But that's what it's there for. I need it; I'm trying to use it.

I finally mentioned it to Danny, hoping repairs to the door will be part of the remodelling. They are. But nobody's in any hurry.

There are other doors, too, which are hard for me.

I don't have a car. I don't have a desk drawer. I have to carry my bag, my lunch, my notebooks, recording equipment, scooter tools, etc. That's a lot of heavy stuff.

I need the automatic doors!

As I write, my legs are all cramped. The office furniture I have to use is thirty years old. Seats are sprung. I can't adjust heights. I primarily sit at an oak school teacher's desk. It's too tall for a computer keyboard. I lower my chair, trying to keep circulation in my legs. I have to hold my hands at awkward positions, to type on the keyboard.

So, my shoulders and neck have cramps. My elbows are always bruised, from banging against chair arms. My neck is stiff from craning it, trying to read the tiny type on the computer monitor, which is about the size of a dinner plate, and too far back for me to read.

It HURTS me to work there. It costs me MONEY to work there.

Most people of my financial status wouldn't even have attempted to volunteer at KUNM. And any who did would probably give up, much sooner than I ever thought of it.

Yesterday, Danny asked Renee what could be moved out of the newsroom. I suggested a vacant computer desk. It houses telephone books and the rolodex. Nobody ever sits there.

She jumped all over me. She said I was TELLING people how to do their job! Damn, lady, it was just a SUGGESTION!! Hell, I spend more time in the newsroom than YOU do! I KNOW what's essential and what's not!

She used superlatives: I'm, "always..." I "never..." I'm "constantly....."

It was BS and I told her she was using superaltives. Condemning me, writing me off.

She heard it and she backed off.

But dammit, if I have to worry about a tantrum, any time I try to contribute to the community, I'll give up or blow up, one or the other.

Danny saw it. Danny recognized it, after that crap about the computer desk. He patted my back as he left the room.

When I first got there, I had a bad accident in the toilet. The commode seat bolt was loose. I sat on the john, slipped, cracked my head on the toilet paper dispenser and bruised my knee on the floor.

I asked someone where I could get a wrench, to tighten the nut on the bolt. I was told I couldn't do it, that it was an "insurance liability."

But me getting hurt, trying to pee, isn't?

But maintenance won't come "all the way out here, just to tighten the nut." I'd have to wait 'til something "more important" came up.

Well, I have a bad memory. That stall is the 1st one I come to, when I go to the ladies' room. I'm busy, thinking about other stuff; I shouldn't HAVE to keep in mind that the toilet can HURT me!

I went down to my scooter. I got out my damn wrench. I went back upstairs.

Women had shoved: toilet paper, match books, gum and a cigarette butt up under there, trying to make it more secure. Looked, to me, like it's an OLD problem.

I removed all the jerry rigging, grunted down onto the floor, reached under with my wrench...and fixed the damn toilet seat.

Now, there's a guy with a truckload worth of tools, right up there on the 3rd floor. It's a ten second job.

But, no: I had to get my gimpy butt down on the bathroom floor, in girl clothes, and fix the friggin toilet, so I wouldn't be permanently injured by neglect, apathy and beurocracy!

THAT TOILET SEAT is MY METAPHOR for what it's like to WORK --volunteer or not-- at KUNM.

Nobody CARED that I got hurt! It's not IMPORTANT!!

I now use the stall for disabled women. There's more room for me to mess with my skirts without banging my elbows. I can use the hand rail to sit. But the seat's too high, to accomodate wheel chairs. It hurts my legs.

And, given my history with that other stall, how much faith and trust do YOU think I put in putting my whole body weight on that hand rail????


Yeah, I have to make compromises. I have to "try to fit in." I have to "go with the flow."

Well, people like me, who try to "go with the flow," generally end up DROWNING!

I guess they think I'm just being petty, huh?

Y'know, I lived in a tin pole-barn in southern Indiana for a year. I didn't have plumbing, just a spigot at the top of the hill. I fashioned a comode from an old, five gallon bucket. I even rigged a discarded old toilet seat on top. THAT was more secure than that toilet at KUNM!
I can make do with a lot. I can jerry rig; I invent prosthetics all the time to get me by...that's what the damn SCOOTER is, you know: a way of walking and carrying things better, without exhausting myself!

But if I TRY to accomodate myself, I'm crazy, in the way, a loose cannon, an insurance risk, a complainer, a crack pot....a threat to the status quo.

So, as soon as they can arrange it, Rogi's being forced back in the closet.

Charming, huh?

Now, look: this is my blog. I get to be cranky here, without being politically correct. If you don't know by now that I dearly respect Renee, Marcos, and just about everybody else there, you're too stupid to say anything.

But I don't have friends. I don't have family. I need to vent. I need to think out loud. I need to be heard.

I know damn well these people aren't TRYING to hurt me.

But the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And I'm feeling driven to hell in a hand basket.

A hand basket was how the wounded were carried off the battle field, in case you didn't know. Especially: it was used to remove FRAGMENTS of bodies.

Get THAT metaphor?

It's three thirty now. It's warm out. I'm going to water my garden before I head to the station.

I don't DARE use the hose when Raoul's home Thurs-Sunday. I'm worried my garden will die.

So, I'm going out to water in the middle of the night, while I have the opportunity.

I work SO HARD to accomodate others' sicknesses and dysfunctions! jesus...

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