I’m sure everyone has one friend that gets on their nerves. I’m talking about that person that you have all the love for in the world but as soon as you see their number come across your phone you start shaking your head in aggravation. I have one of those and she drives me crazy. Ever had someone going off in a high pitched 7th Ward accent for an hour straight? She’s always going on and on about people I don’t know and it is always too personal. I think in a 15 minute phone call I might say five words. No matter how much I don’t respond she keeps going until I shut her up. Sometimes I get mad and start yelling. Other times I pretend there’s a call on the other end. There’s only so much I can take.
I know that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement of my people. See, 14 years ago she found out she was having a baby right as she started her career as a teacher. Because her son’s dad is a loser and disappeared before he was born, she stopped teaching and took another job that paid more so she could take care of him. Back then teachers in New Orleans made less than I did working in retail. Once he got old enough to go to school she took a pay cut to get a lower level job because it allowed her to be home during the evenings. She’s been struggling ever since. She made it worse by paying for Catholic School his whole life to keep him from the rough terrain of public school. She even moved out of Orleans Parish to a safer spot. Then her mama got sick and now she’s taking care of her. Her son just started his freshman year at St. Augustine High School. She sent him there because she said this was the first time he would have a consistent male influence in his life. That means for the next four years she will continue to make herself crazy trying to pay his tuition and buy the things he needs without any child support. Through all of that she has raised one of the most well behaved young men I have ever been around.
Every now and then I kick out a few dollars for gas money or some groceries so she can make it to payday. I might have to change a flat tire. Worst of all, I may have to sit on the phone for an hour once in awhile and let her vent about everything and everybody even if I don’t know them like I did this morning. As much as all that whining and screaming in my ear aggravates me I love and respect her dedication to making sure her son has the best life possible despite the odds so I take one for the team and do that I have to do. I would love to tell her all of this but then my cover would be blown and she would never be quiet.