October 31st, 2005


(no subject)

I work with Guled. Guled is in charge of our East African immigration services. He is a middle-aged Somali refugee who has been in the country for several years. He is dark black, thin, with a faint, wispy mustache and goatee. His black curly hair covers only the rim of the his head. We ride the same bus to work. He picks it up in Minneapolis though, so by the time I get on in Saint Paul he's already been riding for some time. We get off the 50 in downtown Saint Paul and wait together for the 71 to take us across the Mississippi to Neighborhood House.

Guled is brilliant. He reads Tolstoy and philosophy and metaphysics and his grasp of the English language is impressive. Unfortunately, I can hardly understand a word that he says.

Guled speaks with a thick accent and in a very gentle, very quiet voice. From the moment I get on the bus to the moment that we go separate ways upon entering work, I grasp about forty percent of what He has told/asked me.

Now this bus that we both get on (the second of our two leg journey), bus 71, has an interesting crowd. Beyond the church of which I work in there is a GAP school, filled with ruffians, hooligans and the like. At any rate, our bus is fool of said 12-15 year olds on a daily basis. Metro Transit 71 turns into somewhat of a rowdy school bus from 8:09-8:19am, Monday through Friday.

Each day, every violation of bus/pedestrian conduct is broken by this young brood in comical excess. Fortunately, the bus driver has a good sense of humour and hasn't lost her mind.

Now today, Guled and I got off bus 71 and watched the group of twenty or so criminals walk across oncoming traffic in one massive protest of crosswalk regulations. Each morning-and today was no exception-four lanes of traffic suddenly come to an angry halt as these rebels have their way on the public streets.

In the midst of the chaos, my companion Guled turned to me. In a clear, very decipherable tone he spoke, "It is the privilege of the young to break the rules and the duty of the old to enforce them." What a proverb. I laughed at the whole thing.

I spent 15.5 hours yesterday with the one that I love. What a wonderful day. We saw Duluth.

I live!

Somehow there is life. Amidst all the death (by death I mean the daily activities of the living), there is life.

"Amidst the cares of every day
I live-and my soul, under a heavy bushel,
By some fiery miracle,
Is alive in spite of me.
And often, hurrying to the streetcar,
Or over a book, bending my head,
Suddenly I hear a grumbling fire-
And I close my eyes."

The Russian Poet Khodasevich