i made sure i was ten minutes early for the interview since everyone knows that punctuality on the initial impression is as vital as water is to a fish. the building wasn’t marked well. no signage, no nothing to indicate it was anything but a random building.
i knocked on the side door hoping it was the right one and heard footsteps. a guy in line cook garb opened the door.
‘what can i do for you?’
i begin second-guessing my door choice.
‘is angela here? i’m supposed to be meeting with her at..’
‘right in and down the stairs to your left.’
old halifax basements were never meant to accommodate men of my height. pipes and beams made me duck and dodge my way through the basement to a series of offices hidden in an elaborate labyrinth. part of me started thinking i’ve been duped and i’m going to be locked in a dungeon and sold into slavery.
‘you must be lucas’, said the woman with a soft handshake and a warm voice.
phew! no slavery.
another woman greeted me as well, then both left the room to allow me to fill out a short essay question before doing the interview. i thought i was done with essay questions. bah! the question had to do with a clients mental and physical health and how i would approach the situation. it makes me think back to working at first united in east van and a few of the dirty situations i got into.
some memories are best forgotten. ugh..
the interview went off without a hitch. we ended up sharing stories about working with clients who deal with mental health, laughing at a bunch about different scenarios we had found ourselves in, and generally had a good time talking. at the end of it, angela abruptly added, ‘we don’t usually hire on the spot but we think you’re perfect for mental health counselor position. it’s yours if you want it.’
isn’t that what we all want to hear at the end of a job interview? are there any better words?
i can’t think of any.
i thanked the ladies for their time, shook hands again and treated myself to some tim hortons. donuts always make great celebration food.
after eating my celebratory food, i made my way down to gottingen to visit grace street ministries. the place was packed and lively as i pushed my way through the front door. jovial music was playing from the laptop, people were eating lunch and talking, tasha circled around the room with her mop hunting for wet spots, and patty waving her hands around trying to get my attention.
‘i’m SO close to getting my 9 months! please pray i make it, lucas!’
i’ve seen a lot of patty’s ups and downs over the past two and half years. addictions rob life of what it is supposed to be. patty is no exception to this rule. but, after almost 9 months (her longest period of sobriety) i think she may have found the strength to move past it.
‘you know i’m always praying for you,’ i reassure her.
she smiles a big smile and sits back down on the leather couch.
a fight breaks out outside the front door as we are in the middle of a group discussion. people are anxious and agitated. some run outside to see what’s happening, adding to the spectacle. two drug dealers using fists to settle their disagreement. not the most creative way of problem solving.
cop cars pull up minutes later and the crowds disperse quickly, because they either don’t want to answer questions (and be labeled a rat) or because no one likes the cops around here. i don’t blame them. the cops here might be even more corrupt here than back in vancouver.
that’s saying something.
group gets refocused and continues on. my mind is still dwelling on the fight. the guy that was attacked was ‘dinky’ (not sure his real name). he used to come to grace street back in the summer when i was leading group there. a polite guy around my age with a big heart but mixed up in the wrong lifestyle. in a violent halifax subculture in the hood, he could be the next guy to make the 6 o’clock news shot or stabbed to death.
i pray that doesn’t come to pass, but i realize i don’t have much say in it.
after grace street i head down to hope cottage to have a meal with some friends. rock, patty, richard and goula entertain me while i eat a delicious plate of shepherds pie. the fishing boat that capsized off the coast was from richard’s small home town. the fishermen who were lost at sea were friends of his. we give our condolences and say a quick prayer for the families and community left behind. the silence that follows visibly makes people at the table awkward.
death has a way of doing that.
as kat and i are walking back from hope, a car that doesn’t see us almost runs us over on the cross walk. we’re able to move out of the way in time and i give the car a boot with my right foot to show my displeasure. you read that right.
i booted it good, too!
he doesn’t even stop. this has to be the 6th or 7th time this year that has happened. halifax drivers are atrocious.
now i sit here in my favorite chair with my laptop on my knees, feeling angry, sad, encouraged, disappointed, excited – i’m a bit wound up and all over the place emotionally.
just another day in the life of luke.