You can lead a horse to water


You remember my neighbor, the one who was being evicted? The one to whom you all so generously donated enough money to keep her from being kicked out?

She got kicked out this morning.

I told her not to give the money to her landlord. I told her to use it to find a room for rent — that as long as she didn’t have a job, she was only pissing it away by giving it to the landlord. But she did. (It was very frustrating for me. But then, people who weren’t born that way don’t really know how to be poor.) She thought if she gave them something, they would appreciate that she was trying and let her stay. Obviously, it didn’t work.

“I just wanted to know if I could put a few bags in your hallway while I wait for my sister to pick me up,” she said, standing there in the rain with her little dog. Of course, I said.

So she loaded several huge bags into my hall, and sat there with her dog. After two hours, her sister still hadn’t shown up, and she’d stopped answering the phone. “Get your stuff in the car, I’m taking you,” I said.

We loaded up all her stuff and drove across the bridge to Jersey. As soon as we pulled up in front of the house, her sister closed the front door and was peeking out from behind her kitchen curtains. “She’s there,” I said loudly. “I see her looking out from behind the curtain. Maybe she forgot that you took care of your dying mother for five years while she lived her life.”

She disappeared into the house with two bags, and came out to get more.

“She’s really mad at me for being here,” she said. “She said she had people working to find a solution, why didn’t I just wait?”

Yeah, in the rain. With her dog.

She told me about someone she knows who threw herself in front of a train. (She lived. She’s in rehab.) “What if my sister kicks me out?”

“Don’t let her,” I said. “You’re family. You Italians love to talk about family, well, this is what it’s all about. And don’t let her make you feel bad. No one at our age would willingly put themselves in the position of living with a sibling.” (I know I wouldn’t.)

And I drove away.

She’s a college grad with a background in the food business, including a certification in wine and cheese pairings. She had two interviews at Whole Foods, but they hired someone with a masters in nutrition. For $9 an hour.

And people wonder why I’m so pissed at Obama? Because he hasn’t done anything for people like this. Worse than that, he never even raised his voice on their behalf.

5 thoughts on “You can lead a horse to water

  1. I had wondered about her. Good work forcing her sister to act. I hope she gets on her feet again. Tough . . .

  2. I have had to give up trying to help people. It was too hard and nearly killed me from depression and frustration. And they always have their own plans which they just want you to provide for.

  3. She’s lucky to have you as a neighbor. There are some awful situations out there. So many people just trying to get by. And her sister! she should be ashamed. I wish your neighbor well.

  4. Glad you were there to help her when she needed a ride. Hope her sister takes the opportunity to help in a meaningful way too.

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