Can’t We All Just Get Along?
I work for a ride-share company. I will not say which one for obvious reasons but if you know me, you know which one it is. I started working with them over two years ago as a way to make extra income while working my regular job. Well, I was fired from my regular job did and I began driving full-time. Fortunately, and unfortunately, the pay is steady and at times better then my former job was. The unfortunate part comes from the the fact that I am considered an independent contractor, meaning, the company I work for has no responsibility to me or my services, basically I work at my own risk. The car I drive, I am responsible for, repairs, payments, etc.
I do not regret doing this, mostly because 2016 was a difficult year for me. My father died, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and the dreaded disease it seems every African-American and Latino over the age of 40 is at risk of getting, Type-fuckin-2 fuckin Diabetes..ughh just saying it makes me mad at myself for wasting so much time not eating right, not losing weight, and not exercising..but that is not the point of this blog today…I digress. I had bedbugs (which I only wish upon the 45th president of the United States) and I spent much in 2016 in a general state of melancholia. Driving allowed me to continue to pay my bills while going through a complete and total mental break down at times. I have to say that I enjoy the freedom of the job more than anything, never having to answer to a boss, being out and free each day…it is marvelous. Eventually, I have to go back to being a productive member of society with a job and shit, but for right now this keeps me sane while I figure out the the next chapter of my life.
As my boyfriend suggested, my job puts me at the forefront of race relations in the third largest city in the United States, and it has been an eye opening experience. 2016 saw an upheavel of life as we know it. For many Americans of African descent we knew racism, xenophobia, sexism, etc., is real, but with the election of the 45th it has shown everyone else how real it is. Also, Chicago is going through some tough times, the state budget not being passed for the third year in a row, violence running rampant in the predominatly black and hispanic areas of the city has many of us feeling the change for the worse everyday. Jobs for average working folks are few and far between..and unless you are wealthy enough to live in Lincoln Park, South Loop, West Loop, to name a few of the better neighborhoods..education, services, and everything else is shitty. Driving has shown me how much my beloved city has changed, but where do I go from here? I love my city, this my home, and my love of the south side and how wonderful it is and how fantastic it can be keeps me here (also, rents and mortgages in this part of the city are livable, ain’t nobody got $1,500 a month for a studio apartment).
Because of all of this I want to write about my weekly experiences while working as a black woman. Some of my experiences include; Drunk white 20 somethings asking me do I listen to rap music and then being surprised when I say no…(no all of us do not like rap or hip-hop) Being asked constantly am I from Chicago? (where else in the fuck am I going to be from?…duh) Being asked how do I say my name..(it’s Sharon & Rhonda spelled creatively, I swear i’m naming my Daughter Mary and my son John) What part of the city do I live in? and then wanting to know what part of that part..(why in the hell do you need to know?) Being surprised I speak good English (yeah, we still getting that in 2017) How I feel about the election and then getting quiet when I tell them the honest truth…There is more, but come back for it. I have to grow my confidence as a writer and it has taken me forever to get this much done.
Thanks for reading, have a fantastic Day!