Wednesday, November 11, 2009

YANA Today

YANA was slow today. Liz came in after two weeks on a psych ward, still wearing a hospital i.d. on her wrist. She was sad about having gotten drunk immediately after having been detoxed. And her sister has kicked her out yet again, so that she has no clothes, no medicine, no food, no place to sleep. Our visiting professors tried talking to her about available resources, but Liz has good medical care when she wants it, and she had no interest in going to a shelter. She got some warm clothing, and Diane fixed her a cup of soup and a cup of coffee. I asked her about the abandaminium Officer Leather Glove had set up for her. Officer Leather Glove, as she calls him, has been a friend to Liz for years, showing special kindness to one of the more frequently abused citizens on his police beat. Months ago, he put some sort of notice (a sign? crime tape? I wasn't sure) around an abandoned house and told people that only Liz was allowed in there. I think Liz values his caring about her more than she does the house, but at any rate she smiled happily at the mention of Officer Leather Glove, and told us that she was staying in the abandominium he gave her.

In other news, we've had a nice illustration of how much working with the poor does to expand one's overall sense of charity, compassion, and general, dare I say it. . . saintliness. YANA, exasperated by minor, but ongoing, variations in the use it permits other groups to make of its space, has banned any use at all of its space by any other group. The decision had been discussed with Hezekiah House management in advance and heartily approved. Approved, but apparently not followed when one of the nuns needed the space. Then, as Sid and I carried on an immensely important discussion of my personal life in the general office area, Brother Joe pointed out, with the kind of accuracy that can only be described as barbaric, that we were doing exactly the same thing we had banned other groups from doing. After we retreated to Sid's office, we realized that Lilian had been ringing the front door bell in the rain for something like ten minutes. The manager of one of the banned groups had been downstairs the whole time, but, knowing that she was a YANA client, had declined to let her in. As the rain soaked woman and I went upstairs, I told her that he was angry at us because he couldn't use the YANA area. "Well good!" Lilian answered. And then, triumphantly, "It's our space!". She forgot the inconvenience and personal insult, cheered, enormously, it appeared, by a bit of gossip about having put something over on one of the other charities. What the hell, she was happy the whole afternoon. There seems to be plenty of room for pettiness in saving our little part of the world.

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