Hello Mean-ions!!! As always I am swamped!! (#Storyofmylife) Taking a lesson from the business world, I have decided to outsource and get a guest blogger! Today, I am honored to have the musings of my amazingly, wonderful and 2U2BD cousin, the Primadonna. She, unlike myself, has a reasonable tolerance for people (something I admire about her)! She is absolutely one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, and I am ecstatic that she has finally taken me up on my offer to write for me!
So, Meanies, without further adieu, I give you the Primadonna… *Applause*
Primadonna here reporting live on a plane home from my weeklong trip to San Francisco, CA. First, let me say it is a true honor to be a guest blogger on The Mean Black Girl Says. I hope my shared experience meets the MBG 2U2BD (ask about us) standards! Now, before I get into my tale, allow me to give you a little background. The trip was a part of a program called Alternative Spring Break. This program allows college students to travel to another state and perform community service for the week instead of doing the “get drunk in Miami or Cancun” type option. My graduate student status made me eligible to participate as an adviser. The role of the adviser was to keep track of all money spent, and take care of emergency situations. I was also a resource to the student leader, who was in charge of everything else.
Financially, this cost me nothing.
Where do I sign up?!
I applied for the position and by doing so I kind of threw myself in to it, which is normally not like me, but hey, nothing wrong with trying something new! After an application and two interviews I found out two weeks later I got the position.
OH SHIT!! I would be in charge of helping seven undergraduate students navigate a city I knew nothing about. I felt the anxiety building, but I said to myself, “These are college students. They are grown. This shouldn’t be too bad.” Three weeks later I was on a plane with seven girls headed for a trip I will never forget.
San Francisco is a wonderful city. Great places to eat, fun things to do, easy to get around, and plenty of sights to see. What I enjoyed most were the people of San Francisco. People of all different nationalities, race, sex, age, sexual orientation live there and are so relaxed and accepting of one another. I loved the vibe of the San Francisco residents. They were so friendly and eager to help seven women from New Jersey navigate through their great city. Our main objective for the trip was to volunteer. The first half of our week was spent working with the San Francisco Food Bank. The second half of the week was to be spent at Project Open Hand. Project Open Hand is an organization that provides food and prepared meals to terminally ill residents, specifically ones affected by AIDS and HIV.
On our down time we went sight seeing. We went everywhere!!! Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Castro St., Chinatown, Little Italy and the Golden Gate Bridge. The sights were amazing and very exhausting. Anyone who has been to, or seen a movie/TV show located in San Francisco may notice the steep hill streets. I am talking the steepest hills I have ever seen in my life; and there are tons of them!! I am short legged and haven’t seen a gym in God knows how long!! Needless to say, I was not prepared in the least!
Now let’s discuss the undergrads.
Oh yes, these precious beings that ranged from age 18-21 years old. What an adventure! Seven girls from the many suburbs of New Jersey.
I felt like Kate plus 8.
I have never met a bunch of college students who couldn’t manage to navigate their way out of a paper bag. As an advisor my job was not necessarily to navigate, but to assist. It wasn’t long before I realized…I was the nanny!!
When you have to tell a grown person not to run up the escalator backwards in a department store, and they reply, “Thanks, Mom,” things all kind of come into perspective, very quickly.
I was the mother of 7 adults.
Between making sure they didn’t get hit by cars, took their medication (YES, MEDS!), didn’t get lost or attacked, I’m surprised I didn’t start lactating!! I can see why mothers need that
bottle glass of wine from time to time. Psssshhh, bartender, give me a shot!
The student leader, I ‘m assuming, thought her role was to go where she wanted, when she wanted, and how she wanted to get there. Oh negative!! If I have to play mom, when mommy is tired the day is over– NO DISCUSSION, NO DEBATE! End of story! They wanted to walk in the cold, pouring rain for miles at a time instead of catching the bus! I had been nice and compliant, but enough was enough. I was thin on patience by the end of the trip.
You know this trip wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t have a moment.
Every city has its great parts and its not so great parts. San Francisco is no different. Their area is called the Tenderloin (Why? I don’t know). The Tenderloin has a host of drug dealers, homeless people, beggars, crazy people, crackheads, pill heads…point is unless you are interested in participating in those particular activities, you don’t want to go into the Tenderloin. Project Open Hand is located in the heart of this area. From a glance, I could tell this was an area where one could easily become milk carton material. The Tenderloin was 8 very long blocks from our hostel (yeah that’s a whole other story, but I will give you a minute to sink your teeth into that)– up hill, instead of catching the bus because the student leader felt it would be quicker. So let me get this straight, a 25 minute walk is better than a 5 minute bus wait and a 10 minute bus ride? Okay, maybe they do that “new math” in college, but last I checked walking takes more time.
However, as adviser I was trying my best not to completely step on the student leader’s toes, so I didn’t protest. The director of the program suggested we walk, and most panhandlers (bums, etc) were pretty nice (…yeah….I guess).
So we walked.
People, crazy, high, and otherwise, kept to themselves for the most part, but is was clear that after our evening shift at Open Hand, which ended at 8pm, we were catching the bus most definitely. We walked to the bus stop. My feet were killing me I was annoyed, tired, and ready for bed. A man walked up to us and asked for money . No one responded, so he walked away. The bus was heading our way in about 5-7 minutes. The student leader turns to me and says “I feel like it would be better if we walked.” It literally took everything inside of me to not give her a full helping of side eye followed by a full blown, “Bitch are you crazy!?”
This my friends is the thinking of milk carton material. Unadulterated and in its purest form.
For whatever reason she clearly mistook my “street smarts” as a translation for Buffy the Vagabond Slayer! PAUSE…I am one black girl with 7 giggly, sheltered white girls. I am not a personal body guard nor do I have a life long dream of getting attacked in a strange city, or any city for that matter, due to the poor decisions of others. Street smarts = knowing how to navigate through the hood without coming up missing. #RealTalk!
Ummmmm, yeah…Get your ass on this bus!!!
People before you judge me, know that I was good and I didn’t say that aloud, but the conversation went something like this:
ME: You just met 1 bum right?
ME: Want to meet 15?
ME: I didn’t think so. You don’t walk around neighborhoods like this.
Yes my tone was stern because I was pissed that she would even part her lips to say something so ridiculous!! Not to mention my feet were hurting. Hopefully she will take that as a lesson learned…
…and I won’t find her on the back of my 2 percent anytime soon.
Overall, I LOVED San Francisco and the experience was unforgettable. Though I talked about the undergrads, like any “mother” (insert sarcasm) they grew on me despite my wanting to throw them off the Golden Gate Bridge…sometimes (lol j/k). We had our share of really great moments as well as some not so great moments. All in all I encourage anyone reading this to try new things, explore new places, VOLUNTEER and most importantly, do not take 7 undergraduates with you unless you plan to do everything, but midnight feedings and diaper changes :).
Speak your mind…