All I have been able to think about for the last five days was the rug debacle and how scared I now am of decorative flooring. It is now Wednesday and raining and no word from the carpetbaggers, which leaves me secretly elated. I am very relieved they have cut off contact with us so I do not have to go out to the van and smell the rug to see if it passes the stink test. There is water falling from the sky, for God’s sake and that means a multitude of moisture and dampness. And in this town, that never happens. Rain is as common in Los Angeles as real life C cups and dignity while driving. Now that two days have passed and the house it spotless I almost feel guilty for being so upset. But then I shove my head into the hamper where some wet washcloths are sitting waiting for me to wash and I suddenly have a sense memory of why I was so apoplectic. I actually never yelled or even raised my voice to Tavo. He just saw a shell of a woman shaking and furrowing her unplucked brows and he knew what to do. Get the evidence out before there is another victim.
Now, sitting quietly in my bedroom with the thunder and the rain and a healthy, sleeping baby I realize that the rug was really just a small bump in a stupid road. The reality of it is that real problems are not about stuff in your house or being late or schedule conflicts or a half empty diaper bag or even a diaper diarrhea explosion. The real shit is when you are in the real shit.
We have a lovely woman who comes in every two weeks to clean and help out with Otto for a half hour while we shower and dress in peace. She and I have always had nice, gesture filled conversations as the two of us have a bit of a hard time communicating. That being said, she seemed down and troubled today and as I walked by with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and my computer to come upstairs to write, I asked her how she was doing.
Within minutes, the truth came out in gasps and groans. Her three-year old daughter, an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy at the age of 47, had just been diagnosed with Autism, the father nowhere to be found and her heart, broken. She began telling me every painful detail and by the time she was finished we were both sobbing with her head on my shoulder and my hand on her head. Here was this wonderful woman, a native of Mongolia who just wants to return to her country but cannot not leave the States because of her daughter’s therapeutic needs. Her tears were that of an anger and frustration and helplessness I know nothing of.
Earlier in the day I was at the parking department office waiting in a ridiculously long line to renew our parking permits. It is a place that, when you first arrive you must take a number and sit patiently while watching people freak out when they are told they own $800 in unpaid parking tickets or that they do not have the correct information to obtain a valuable parking permit in a town where automotive real estate is as important as a yearly face lift. My number was 25 and I easily had an hour-long wait and thirty minutes to spare. Suddenly, the man next to me handed me the number 15 and said that someone had been given a lower number and that I should take his. I thanked him profusely and he looked at me and said, “Just pay it forward.”
I sat there and wondered what I it was that I would do later to pass on the good deed. And then, not two hours later, standing in my dining room I held a woman who was fighting to stay strong in a world of unjust outcomes and shitty luck. She needed a shoulder and mine was surprisingly free and clean.