One of These Days
A bad day day turns good with Brown inspiration
As we all do, I occasionally have a bad day that either depresses me, or makes me want to just kick the shit out of somebody. You know what I'm talking about, where you're either dropping, spilling or forgetting everything, running unusually late, or asking yourself, "Why did I even bother getting out of bed today?" while every jerk-off in L.A. has either decided to drive on the freeway at the same time I have, or happens to peak in their daily idiocy while I'm around.
Published on LatinoLA: October 11, 2003
A day where nothing goes right....?Tu sabes?
Working in both the professional Mental Health field and the Entertainment field, these kind of days are really not condusive to a good attitude or creativity, you know what I mean? One has to dig deep within themselves to get through the day, while avoiding unnecesssary conflicts that would have never happened yesterday or tomorrow. I have found it necessary to sometimes look beyond my world and into others for solace.
An artist friend once told me, "You gotta look at all the different shades of grey to really appreciate how colorful the world really is." What I took this to mean was that the world is so much bigger than I, and to appreciate my efforts and accomplishments, I must also appreciate the efforts and accomplishments of others, no matter how significant, because everybody has a part in making the world go 'round, and it will always go 'round.
On a particularly bad day last week, two other worlds touched mine, and I stand reinvigorated with a new appreciation for my Gente, because of that touch.
Being disappointed that what took a Democratic Latino running for Mayor of L.A. down doesn't work on a Republican Gabacho running for Governor of California, I made my peace that "Ahh-nold" the actor will be Governor of my State. Being that I still haven't forgiven the other actor, Ronald Reagan, for eating grapes on the news when HE was Governor, I dreaded what future Latinos have now. I'm almost feeling defensive.
On Thursdays, I broadcast my Radio Show live out of the American Radio Network Studios off Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, California. The surrounding neighborhood is heavily Latino and Armenian, and I feel quite at home sitting in my car and listening to the radio while waiting for my show's airtime. I've also become a regular at some of the local businesses, so I see some of the same people every week, doing their part to keep the world turning. Lot's of interesting people.
About six Thursdays ago, a young man in his early 30's approached me, asking for help. He spoke only in Spanish. Saying that he had just arrived from southern Mexico, he asked where he could find some work. He didn't ask for any money, just where a man could find work. I couldn't help him as I wasn't a local, but suggested he try all the businesses on Sunset Blvd. He thanked me and walked away.
The next week, looking a little thinner, he again approached me, this time with a roll of paper towels and a bottle of window cleaner. Again, he didn't ask for money or a handout, but asked if he could clean my car windows for a couple of bucks. I gave him 5 bucks for his labor, and he seemed genuinely grateful.
For the next three weeks, he was a regular on Thursdays, cleaning car windows and asking where he could find regular work. I felt guilty that I would have felt embarrassed doing the same thing, but he kept his head up, cleaning windows with a sense of pride amnd purpose, an object lesson in dignity. I almost felt proud of the guy, noting that he had picked up a small group of regular customers in the neighborhood and was not begging.
Last week, as I parked in my usual place on my usual day, I didn't see my friend the window washer. I sat in my car for some time listening to the radio, when lo & behold, here comes my friend, resplendent and almost regal, in his new McDonald's shirt and cap.
With a folded jacket across his arm and a sack lunch in his other hand, this man was obviously on his way to WORK! He had a proud, defiant look in his eyes, and walked with a strut and sense of accomplishment.
As we made eye contact, he gave me a repectful, chin up, head back silent greeting familiar to men who acknowlege each other on equal terms. I couldn't help but give him a "thumbs up" and he grinned proudly.
A group of older Armenian men, who usually stand around congregating on the sidewalk in the shade of local business building in the late afternoon also spotted my friend. They must have also noted the pride-in-the-stride of our mutual friend, because as he approached, they acknowleged him, and cleared themselves off the sidewalk so he could pass.
My friend seemed to grow another inch as he passed these men, and the scene was one that touched me, almost to tears. I was hit with the urge to buy two or three Big Macs. Seeing this guy marching off to his first U.S. job would otherwise seem insignificant, if you had not been there off Sunset Blvd six weeks ago. This time, I felt proud of the guy.
?Orale! Two Big Macs, please!
Later on that evening, the guest on my show was Miss Catalina Manzano, a prominent and successful Latina attorney for a major law firm, who is gaining national attention for her efforts in fighting major corporations on behalf of the Latino community. Her fine reputation preceding her, I kind of expected her to make some form of political statement given the highly charged political situation of the day and the influence her opinion must hold in high circles.
Instead, Catalina focused on her issues dealing with the discrimination and exploitation of undocumented workers, the violation of a trusting Latino community by a major drug corporation, the poor treatment of Latinas by major hotel firms, and her upcoming battle with the powerful L.A. Unified School District concerning the new tactic of drugging young children to behaviorally control them in the crisis of overcrowded classrooms, thereby systematically denying them education, usually in minority and low income neighborhoods.
As she talked, I noticed how her eyes widened and watered, she gestured angrily and her face color changed tones. She spoke with such passion that I could not help but feel proud of this Hermana, and mentioned on the air what a fine role model she is for our younger carnalas.
Here, I'm talking about an intelligent and well educated woman, with movie star quality looks, with a smile and attitude that could melt your heart in under two minutes, and an aggressive Guerrera Latina spirit that makes you feel like picking up a sword and joining her. An obvious success, this lady could go anywhere and succeed in the high stakes corporate world, and would not be out of place on Wall Street or Washington D.C.
Instead, Catalina Manzano has dedicated herself to fighting for, and alongside, the Latino community , and the low income minority communities. Bringing Social issues to light in the almost forgotten Movimiento spirit, Ms Manzano definitely does the Raza righteous!
I encountered these two exceptional people on the same day. One of those days, tu sabes, when nothing goes right, when I thought earlier that I just should have stayed in bed. While I was earlier lamenting for Cruz Bustamante and the Raza. Where I was worried sponsors for my show weren't lining up anywhere on the planet.
One of those days, tu sabes. When other people help you look at the many shades of grey. When you realize how much bigger than you the world really is.
And the World will continue to go 'round. The day wasn't so bad afterall.....
Catalina Manzano can be reached toll free at: 1-877-775-2948
Frankie Firme now cleans his own car windows, and can be reached thru his website at: http://www.frankiefirme.50megs.com