Tuesday, March 10, 2009

hard times

Yesterday, I stopped by my library to drop off some DVDs. There was a father and daughter at the counter. The young girl was so excited, because she had just found the latest "Air Buddies" DVD on the shelf. I think it was actually "Space Buddies". Her father gave me a brief lesson in the proper way to clean DVDs. Wipe them straight across - not in a circular motion - it will keep them from scratching.

I never clean DVDs. I only watch them once, why would I clean them? I don't know why he was telling me this.

I was having a hard time looking at this man. He had a stubbed out cigarette in his mouth. Clearly, he was saving it for later. Was it his last one? Did he not have any money to buy another pack?

He asked me, "How far is McDonald's from here?"

I said, "Not far. About a mile up the road."

I'm not good with distance. I knew it was close, so I gave what I thought was a short distance.

"A mile!" he gasped. "We already walked a mile just to get here!"

I quickly said, "Oh, not a whole mile, just a couple blocks," realizing they didn't have a car.

After checking out a book, I went to the lobby, and found them sitting on a bench. It was pouring rain outside. He still had the half smoked cigarette in his mouth. They didn't have umbrellas or raincoats.

I really wanted to give them a ride to McDonald's, but wasn't sure how he would feel if I offered. It is a touchy situation. You don't want to hurt some one's pride, especially in front of their child.

I thought, hard times have come to America, to my small, suburban town.

Today, I learned that my school district is asking all staff to take a pay freeze for the upcoming school year, in order to save 100's of jobs.

I was angered when I heard people say, "I'm not taking a pay freeze."

How could you not freeze your pay to save a fellow teacher's job? Perhaps other options need to be explored first, but in the end, shouldn't we be willing to sacrifice for the good of others? Wouldn't the kids suffer in larger classes? Wouldn't your job be more difficult?

It'll be interesting to see how this pans out.


Dawn said...

A pay freeze is a lot better, for everyone, than a layoff of anyone. That much should be obvious to most people. Except that maybe some people are already struggling and maybe a spouse has lost a job or something. But in general a pay freeze rather than a pay cut or a job lost is a win in my mind.

As for the father..well, if it was you by yourself I wouldn't have offered. You just don't know whether or not the whole thing was a ruse to get you alone in your car. Why did he approach YOU about cleaning the DVD and how far to McDonalds? Maybe you were a target. I hate to be negative, but you have to be careful. In these times people get desperate.

Diana said...

I only get cost of living increases. I think we have had one since I started in this district. Instead they are cutting jobs. Mostly people who have retired and then come back to work. So they get 2 incomes. Its a werid concept, to pay someone twice for the same job, in this state but most of the state government jobs offer that. Diana

Josh and Jess said...

Similar situation here too. We've all had our pay frozen for a year, but I don't mind - better than having no job at all! These are scary times we live in!

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Better to have a job with a pay freeze than to have no job at all. I think some people still don't get how bad things are out there and just don't appreciate what they have.

I'm glad you didn't give the man and his kid a ride - it's sad but true that you can't be sure what the situation was.....