Today I am thankful for the kindness of strangers. I’m thankful for the African-Puerto Rican man, the middle-aged man, and the trucker named Danny who gave my young cousin rides from the outskirts of Cincinnati to Indianapolis. I am thankful for Josiah, a 21-year-old guy she met on the bus from Indy to Chicago, who gave her his blanket, bought her a Gatorade, and kept her company while they both waited for their next buses (his to Kansas City, hers to Minneapolis). She arrived in Minneapolis at 5:30 this morning with a purse, the fleece blanket Josiah had given her, and a small reusable grocery bag containing the rest of her personal possessions. She’s now at home asleep on the air mattress in our spare room, exhausted from her long physical journey. Her emotional journey, I hope, is just beginning.
My 21-year old cousin’s fiance finally kicked her out. I was hoping they would break up, and he’d been threatening to kick her out for quite awhile, so I figured it was inevitable. On Saturday she called me from a shelter in southeastern Indiana, saying he’d kicked her out and she was trying to get back to her home town, which I like to refer to as Hickville, IN. I told her if she wanted to come up here and stay with us for awhile, I’d get her a bus ticket. She seemed to want to go back to her town, though, so I let it go.
Yesterday morning I woke up to a text message from her, asking if she could come and stay with us for awhile. I said of course, and hold her if she could get to Indianapolis or Cincinnati, I’d get her a Megabus ticket from there. She said she could get to Indy, so I let it go at that. I assumed she had someone who could drive her to Indy, maybe someone from the shelter or a friend.
This morning, I found out that she was planning to WALK to Indianapolis, which is 100 miles from where she was at the shelter! I wish I’d have known that earlier; I’d have told her to go to Cincinnati, which is only about 25 miles from where she was. Still a long walk, but better! Or she could have taken a Greyhound from a small town nearby and then taken Megabus from Indy… but by the time I found this out, she was well on her way down the road to Indy. I can’t really call her a cab, because she has NO money and I don’t think a taxi service would take my card over the phone, plus now she’s just randomly on the road somewhere. I feel awful; I should have asked how she planned to get to Indy or just told her to go to Cinci. I should have done more research when she told me what town she was in; if I’d have known there was a Greyhound station there, that would have solved a lot of problems.
I really, really hate the commercial for Travelocity where the kid is running around an empty hotel swimming pool in a floaty toy because her dad “didn’t book with Travelocity, so no one told him the pool was under contstruction.” Yes, I’d be pissed if that happened to me, sure. But the next line in the commercial is “Quick, somebody get her a pony!” and that absolutely makes me physically nauseous. Yes, absolutely, great idea– teach our kids that they should get large, extravagant gifts when things don’t go their way.
Ironically, the kid in the commercial seems to be having a grand old time in the empty pool.
The holiday season in general gets me incensed about spoiled children and consumerism. Christmas carols coopted into jingles selling everything from toys to cars, ads showing people getting/giving over-the-top gifts like new cars, jewelry commercials implying that all women are interested in is gold and diamonds, toy ads aimed at kids so that they’ll beg their parents for all the new, expensive, and typically useless toys they see on TV…. it’s all disgusting. I’m *so* not letting my kids watch live TV…