Don’t care for home care.

December 9, 2011 at 10:52 pm 6 comments

People try to put u down in two ways:

1. They pretend they didn’t hear you when you say something good abt urself.
2. They suggest that u get an inferior job to their own (or ask why u won’t apply for food stamps, go to the church nearby on Sunday afternoons and grab yourself some free food, when u mention ur hrs are being cut). It is a sugar-coated insult, a dagger beneath the velvet glove; and usually comes not from a sense of superiority, but inferiority. Which is why when a colleague who washes dishes for a living, and wears a double extra sized large shirt and an extra large (male size) pants asked me why I wouldn’t do “home care”, I replied “leEdlem alasayew!” vechemently. While she looked at me as if she’s trying to figure me out, see something that’s of value that has eluded her notice, and while my heart beat against my ribs with righteous anger, I knew another blog post was in order.

Ofcourse, she isn’t the first person to ask me if I would like to do home care. I’ve been asked by those who saw it as the better option to starving; like Z, who has lived in Germany for 12 years, before coming to America, and seen it all. And I’ve been asked by those who saw it as a way to shut me up. When hearing my vechement objection, almost all of them have mentioned how “THEY” have or were about to do it. And if they have done it, they are saying, I shouldn’t be above it. But until this colleague asked the question, and looked at me like I was putting airs, their questions/suggestions hasn’t bothered me much. I do not put airs, infact I consider myself much more humble than many an Ethiopian men with half my IQ and ability to type like the wind. Still, I’m used to being seen like I was since other people, and not you, are supposed to know your values, and tell it to you. Even then, you are supposed to feign ignorance, protest against the compliments and shoot them down one by one to the best of your ability.

I said I am used to being seen like I was putting airs because, despite the many adversaries saying and trying to prove me otherwise, I’ve tried to hold onto my values and worth with firm, if slightly white-knuckled, hands. There were friends who couldn’t understand why I am refusing to play along in the games that women are supposed to participate in whether they liked it or not. Put that lipstick, they have advised. Do that makeup. Get that man! One has even screamed “this is Seattle, abesheet!” to indicate that the small number of straight men available in this cold place I’ve started calling “my home away from home” do not go for women whose skin is spotted like liver. There was the mother. The Secretarial Science diploma. And the weight scale that told me, in no uncertain terms, that I wasn’t meant to be a writer, a wonderer, a dusty-foot “why”-sayer. (I wasn’t a size zero, I cared about what I wore and didn’t spit pieces of cha’at every time I opened my mouth to speak. So it was hard for many to accept as valuable my literary asteyayets and poetry-gimgeMas). And, above all, there has been America!

Through all this, that and that other adversary, I’ve tried to live by what I believed and fake-smiled only on professional basis. Values, I’ve told myself as would a Dickensian Banker “business”, values are what makes you unique. You are, after all, black and not a size zero and have none of the excuses that makes men like Sebhat Gebregziabher get away with living below their brains. I also know how those values can be compromised and put aside for the common good. There is a time, as the preacher would say [and usually a place ..  called “home”) to think yourself too fine to do odd jobs that would, literally, get the hands dirty. And there is a time in which the damn rent [that’s too damn high!!] should be forked, cost what it might.

However.. why does home care has to be the Rome, the “rite of passage” to “Coming to America” that all abeshas need to go through!? Wouldn’t the vengeful gods who take down notes and do calculations to square what went around with what comes around, make shit happen, be all kismet-y, be content unless they see me deal in doodle?! Is dabbling in feces [or “emmumu terega”, as they affectionately refer to it here] the meter with which life in America should be measured for Ethiopians?! (that and cab driving, spending half ur time talking about others, showering once a week?!) Is it like politics? And soccer? And the inability to adopt [I know an entire family of Pinocchiopians. There is Pinocchiopiano the father, who refers to his 4 year cleaning job as “Geee-naaatoral”. (Makes you wonder if he put his ear to the ground and stubbornly refused to listen to how they were pronouncing the word around him). Pinocchiopia the mother, who calls “rice” “RIZE”; as in “afro Americans should rise against Obama for telling them to stop whining (who would have thought Obama was a white man with black stripes and not a black man with white stripes?!); and their kids PinocchiopiOne and two who have picked up and stuck to referring to “bar-b-que” as Bar-Ber-que, despite having lived in America all their lives and my repeated subtle corrections in the form of “you do barBEcues?”, “I’d love me some barBEcue someday.”, “Nossar! I wouldn’t refuse a barBEcue if somebody gave it to me right here, right now.”

Erm. I admit the last one can be open to all kinds of interpretations ;)].

I do not put airs. Want evidence? Well.. I will give it to ya! Were I one to put airs, would I apply for a donation attendant position at a thrift store; after seeing the kind of stuff that goes under the gloved hands of my ex-colleagues who did the sorting at Goodwill Escondido?! That’s not all. I have applied for a Gas Station Cashier position, for another position that would allow me to push carts outside big grocery stores, luggage attendant at SeaTac airport (which I have been told “ene negn yale wond ayserawum”). And I’m due for an interview with a child centered organization that raises money, by sending it’s people out in the road. You flag people down, shake hands with them while you are introducing your name and the company you represent, give them a low down on the missions and visions of the said company and end up asking for their credit card number (right there and then — on the open road), while the sun, the wind and the rain beat-th against you. I’m willing to do that. Yassar I am! And whatever I’ve made up my mind to do, I’ve been known to do well. Give it 110 percent, as they say! But not, I repeat, NOT washing old lady’s bottoms! It’s the one thing I feel strongly about and nothing to do with laziness or putting fine airs.

So the answer is “no”! Any objection?!

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Entry filed under: Latest Posts.

10 things I hate about you Transition (?): My 1 woman show

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Z  |  December 10, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    That’s funny to say the least….did u say ‘any objection’ ? None! You see things differently and that’s ur right. Enjoyed the reading. Keep on writing ! “Z”

  • 2. ethiocentric  |  December 11, 2011 at 4:32 am

    If you measure your `values` by the type of job you can get, you are going to have a hard time in america. So many famous people have worked odd jobs to pay the bill. It didn’t stop them from getting where they want. Dion’t let your short-comings stop you from being who you can to be.

  • 3. andthree  |  December 13, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I hate to be doling out advices and I don’t think you are asking for any. But all the same, here goes:

    Stop worrying about what people think of you; don’t obsess about the mold they try to cast you in lest you end up in that selfsame mold; you want to do something, go out there and do it; don’t waste your time trying to figure out the difference between humility and condescension, inferiority complex and thinking that certain people are full of ish.

    At least that’s what I try to tell myself on so many occasions. I may be contradicting myself cuz what might work for me may not work for you. I am not a gander and you are not a goose. So, end of advice.

    Two points though…

    I have got a soft spot for Sibhat, him being the first one to properly introduce me to Greek Mythology in his olden Addis Admass days and all

    “I admit that last one can be open for all kinds of interpretations -niiiiice 😀

  • 4. abesheet  |  December 14, 2011 at 1:50 am

    *hits the Like button on andthree’s comment* 🙂

  • 5. Goraw  |  December 19, 2011 at 5:45 am

    I know a friend of mine who paid about 3,000 dollars to go to a nursing school,and then she left her job after working it for less than two months. So i agree with your decision. This kinds of jobs you got to do them out of passion. You have to be born to be patient and sympathatic. Even if you try to do it,you will not stay long. Try to find something you will love to do. I wish you the best.

  • 6. Mitmita  |  December 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    “However.. why does home care has to be the Rome, the “rite of passage” to “Coming to America” that all abeshas need to go through!? Wouldn’t the vengeful gods who take down notes and do calculations to square what went around with what comes around, make shit happen, be all kismet-y, be content unless they see me deal in doodle?!”
    So poetic. And I agree completely. Most habeshas do these jobs because they can’t speak english and they have a lousy communication skill. You deserve better than that. Don’t give into stupid people try ingto lower you to their levels.

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