Yeah, that’s me rocking my Mr. Rogers shirt under a suit jacket. That formal/informal mix is kind of how I feel the week went.
I always feel the phrase “Thank God It’s Friday” is a weird phrase. First, because I’m an atheist, so I don’t think I’d bother thanking anyone except the union workers who made weekends off a thing, but also because the marketing of that phrase just leaves it sickeningly cliche. But, after a long week: thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster or whatever it’s Friday!
All and all the week has gone well. I feel like I’m beginning to settle into my job and have enough awareness about what it is that I’m actually doing that I can begin to speak with some confidence to people. But the enormity of this task is weighing heavily on me. I’ve had a few really raw discussions about poverty that are great for me to hear but kind of hurt the heart.
There’s a lot of poverty and the burden is so great. It’s definitely hard not getting depressed by it, but one good thing is the sheer number of things going on right now in Spokane. There are far more organizations which are doing far more than I had realized. Much of the challenge is just aligning their goals, getting them to not step on each others’ toes, and getting the awareness out.
One interesting thing that I heard was a firefighter talking about how they get about 8 or 9 calls each day regarding mental health. The procedure has been to basically take everyone having a mental health disturbance to the emergency room under restraint which would likely compound the problem. But they’ve partnered with a mental health organization to team a behavioral specialist with the first responders. It’s only working within certain hours, but they’ve had about a 51% diversion rate despite the enormous rise in such calls. It’s depressing because he said that this was the only such project in Washington and one of only 3 in the United States, but hopefully the success of this program will expand it to all areas.
Much of what I’ll be doing is working with the immigrant community. This is something I’m incredibly excited about, having lived for years as an immigrant myself. I’m looking forward to this, especially as it will connect many aspects of my life.
After about fifteen years of not driving, I’m finally getting my license back. Hopefully I’ll get the card in my hand today. I have mixed feelings about this, because I hate being in the numbers of people who are literally destroying the climate, but being stuck in the wheatfields outside of Spokane, I have zero other options. That’s the bigger problem and one I hope to advocate for as I network with the movers and shakers of policy in the county.
But I’m really excited about the freedom a car will give me. Being able to access the city and its residents again. I’ve felt like I’ve been in house arrest for two years as I’ve fought to have access to a car for a drive test. Now, I’ll be able to get back out an live again. I’m excited to have a great job, I’m considering becoming a Big Brother, I’m looking forward to being able to go to the gym and mental health support groups, I’m going to visit the meditation center, and I’m to start attending weekend drawing classes from time to time.