June 9, 2008 Outreach by Jarvis Allen
I had this absurd plan that I would move in ten people (three households) yesterday. The first move, for a family of five living in outer southeast, went smoothly enough. I picked up furniture from our darling friends at the Community Warehouse and had it all unloaded at their new apartment by noon. I drove from there to move #2, for a family of four also in outer southeast. They piled into their van and followed behind me as I drove in the rusty trusty JOIN van. And here my grand plan for three moves unraveled, as their van broke down on the freeway. They were able to repair it quickly, and we continued on to the warehouse, but the breakdown was just enough to derail move #3. We loaded their furniture, amidst much good natured bickering, and drove back to their apartment. By the time we got everything unloaded and set in their apartment, it was 5:30, the warehouse was closed, I rescheduled my last move, and my day was done.
Or so I thought. I went home, ate dinner, and tried to relax, but I couldn’t stop thinking about my friend Mr. S. I have been working with Mr. S for a year, and after a rocky start we have established an excellent rapport and fine working relationship. He is living in an SRO downtown, but has a section 8 voucher and has found a wonderful apartment in a very respectable building. It is a great opportunity, but there is some snafu in his application that is delaying his move, causing him quite a bit of anxiety. Anyhow, I couldn’t stop thinking about him, so at 9 pm I went to his apartment to talk over the situation.
After an hour or so with Mr. S I went home, reflecting on the events of the day and my strange job. There is so much work to do, stopping work often seems arbitrary. We are never done. Even successes, like helping folks move indoors, are easily forgotten in the constant rush of new and ongoing work.