Alright, ladles and jellyspoons. Nothing all that exciting has actually been going on in my life right now, so when one of the other people in my department asked if I wanted to go on a field trip with middle schoolers, I knew it would be the hi-light of my day. There I sat, cutting small rectangles of paper into what I thought might be flashcards as I had been instructed to do, my little red safety scissors doing a terrible job, when someone walked up to my desk. "Are you busy this afternoon?" she asked. I shook my head, gesturing at the pile of tiny rectangles of paper. She smiled. "Ok, then today you can come with me to a field trip for the disabilities awareness club we are running at one of the public middle schools!" (So, this is not actually how this conversation went down. I mean, my coworker did not explain the trip as eloquently as I did here, but this is probably a bit easier to understand than what she actually said word- for- word.)
We got on the bus and got to the school. Those lucky students attend a public middle school that has a sports center with swimming and such, kind of like a YMCA or small sports club. Anyway, they were loud and excited, like we all were in middle school (especially me). The interesting thing was that they all went to outdoor lockers to switch out of their white school shoes (they looked like Crocs with less holes), and into their various brightly colored sneakers. The clinic for the disabled individuals was an extremely interesting place, even though I could not understand anything that the woman giving us the tour was saying. The best part was the rooftop garden, where some people were working, so enamored by the plants that they did not want to leave even though our rather large and raucous group had just arrived. After the tour, there were some activities and videos for the students, some of which were incredibly powerful. The experience reinforced the idea that one person can make a difference, something that I really have been needing a reminder of, since I feel pretty helpless here.
The best part was that after the field trip, I got to go home early, something that is always exciting, especially since my coworker helped me temporarily fix the problem that I was having with my transportation card by helping me locate a global ATM so I could withdraw some money from my US bank account (thanks, Dad!). Anyway, there were about three stops out of my 20 stop commute left, when some guy got on the subway yelling into his phone. Of course there is a seat open next to me, and where does the guy decide to sit down? Right next to me. He is screaming into my ear, and it is physically hurting, so I pull out my earbuds, even though they are not attached to anything and put them in my ears, but just as I do so, he finishes talking and shuts his flip phone with an incredibly sassy snap. At the next stop, I stand up and move to the seat across from where I was just sitting, because a spot has just opened up. I moved because I did not like having the yelling right in my ear, not because I thought that there was something wrong with the gentleman.
Also, the contents of my care package are still bringing me incredible joy!
PS: Mom, if I cannot find chocolate easily, what makes you think I can find the kind of cream you need to make butter?
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Everyday Acts of Activism