Original article posted by Chellee:
I was getting ready for school this morning at work when it started again. “Wow, your hair sure is pretty. How do you get it so shiny?” a sixty-five year old man asks.
“I really don’t know,” I reply. Honest to goodness, I didn’t used to be so immune to compliments. It all started last June, when I started work at the local homeless shelter.
My first real problem was that the lady who was training me had it in for me. She wanted me dead. She hired a private detective to find out where I would be each hour of the day. Then she began stalking me. She bugged my phone, she put video cameras in my house, and she bribed my roommates to spy on me. Okay, she didn’t really do any of those things. She just wanted my job. (Can you blame me for wanting to spice the story up a little?)
Anyway, work was pretty easy at first. We had great clients during the summer. One that I like to call Grant was very sweet. He did anything he was asked, he always followed the rules, and he gave me a present when he left. Not that I need to be bought. It was a sentimental gift. Actually, it was a doll that reminded him of me.
Probably one of my biggest problems was a young man we’ll call Leo. Leo found it enjoyable to spout out poetry at the dinner table about how my hair was like “angel fire” and my eyes were like the “deep blue sea under a cloudy sky”. His second day in the shelter he came to my office and asked me if I wanted to run off and get married. When I turned him down, he persisted with, “Do you just want to run off?” He complimented my hair, my clothes, my eyes, my face, my skin… He said how he loved the little mole on the side of my nose. He thought it was sexy. I hate it. He very much succeeded in making me blush, but after explaining to him several times that I’m just a girl trying to work my way through college and I didn’t need a distraction at work, it just became annoying. Leo became a perpetual thorn in my side until he left.
Then there was Steve. That’s just what I’ll call him. Steve liked to tell me his pot-smoking stories and always asked me why I didn’t share my drugs with him. You see, I have a slight problem with my pupils: they’re always dilated more than they should be. He took this to be a sign of drug use and would say, “Look at them eyes! Where you keeping your stash? Just tell me!” He tossed in his fair share of proposals.
And then there’s the one I call Mark. Every time his wife called, she was snippity with me. It turns out she thought we were having an affair. You see, she left him to live with two other men, so when he decided to go across the country on a road trip, she became understandably jealous. She asked him if we were sleeping together. I heard her because she was yelling. “Yeah,” he said. I hit him on the arm. “No,” he said, “but I wish we were.”
Sadly, this was not the end. A few months ago, a young man I’ll nick name Jack came to the shelter. He talked to me for a few minutes, I gave him a cup of coffee and some food, and he left. Then he came back to stay. He confessed his undying love for me and told me how he had dreamed about me all night and how he couldn’t stop thinking about me and he knew that I was the one that God had sent to this earth for him. Well, I like to think I have a pretty good relationship with God, and he told me no such thing. During the course of his stay, Jack wrote me three poems, one of which he turned into a song and performed for me. Finally he realized his wooing was amounting to nothing but a lot of heart ache for him, and he took his leave. But not until he wrote me a heart breaking farewell love letter.
Now, it may seem like I am a cold-hearted beast. And maybe I am, but can you blame me?
Although I do have to say that hearing a man that asked if he could have a bottom bunk because he’s afraid of heights ask, “Do you want me to get a ladder and change that lightbulb, pretty lady?” is highly rewarding.
And it gives me warm fuzzies to hear an Irish bloke who was drunk on the street a few days ago say, “Thanks for the apple juice, Love!”
And nothing makes me feel better at 7 a.m., after four or five hours of sleep and twenty minutes of get ready time, than hearing a man who woke me up at two in the morning to ask for pain killers say, “Damn! You look fine!!!”