So, if you know me, then you know that I love
all , most things reality. Yes, I will allow you to judge me, right now… Done? Ok. Moving on. While I know that a majority of reality shows are scripted and contrived – there are two that definitely, for real, for real aren’t. They are: The Amazing Race and Parking Wars. The Amazing Race follows teams of two racing around the world, competing in various challenges for a million dollar prize. Parking Wars follows the woes of people who get parking tickets, boots on their car or their cars towed.
I love Parking Wars because it’s a prime example of what happens when the bureaucracy of the system and real, everyday people collide. Oh yes, did I neglect to point out that the show is taped in the one and only Philadelphia? Yes, these people are gangsta! They will cut a meter maid. Or at least cuss ‘em out and tell ‘em to get a real job! LOL! But every episode features people who are, “just doing their job” vs. people who are frustrated with the process that entails.
As I have mentioned, I recently had my vehicle stolen. And the thieves got a ticket on my car. So, I have to contest the ticket. And they want to see a copy of the police report. I go to the police station the other day, give them my police report number and the woman goes to a small, two drawer desk, with no label or anything on it and starts to look for the report. And I desperately want to yell, “is this your organizational system?”
So of course she says, "I can't find your police report." And while I hold in a, "No, really? Who would have thought that?" I just stare at her and feign disbelief. Of course I have to wait for the police officer who originally "wrote" the report to get out of roll call so he can tell me, “I don’t know what happen to your report ma’am. But if you wait 20 minutes, I’ll write you another one.” Say what?!? Where is my Straight Outta Compton CD cause I’m about to blast FCUK THE POLICE up in here! But it’s not FCUK THE POLICE, it’s FCUK THE SYSTEM! Or moreso FCUK THE PEOPLE IN THE SYSTEM WHO KEEP THE SYSTEM DISORGANIZED!! FCUK!
Cause let’s be honest, we’ve all come across a seemingly incompetent, do the least possible, government/federal/state/city employee. Or one who truly giveth not a fcuk about your issues cause they gon’ get their 8 hours of vacation and 8 hours of sick leave regardless. Or one who shuts off their phone at 4:45, when the office doesn’t really close until 5:00. Or the one who says they’ll call you back with an answer to your question. And never, ever do. These are the people who are “ruining” our lives. Ok, maybe not ruining, but making it that much more difficult to get what should be everyday, simple things, done.
I have a friend who is in the throes of a mayoral race in a major city. A major city that like all major cities has its share of problems. And while I respect his hustle, his foresight to hop on the O train of hope and change, and his true dedication and love for his hometown, it seems to me that true change really has to go beyond fixing a certain infrastructure or pouring money into this or that, if at the end of the day, you have the same, tired, can't see past what they've been taught at training, people working in the system, taking (or not taking) calls, responsible for handling money, not caring about a politician or city council's overall vision or goal. Having a job that’s really hard to lose/be fired from anyway, thus diminishing their want to even do work. Like at all.
The same people who won’t deliver books to the schools. The same people who are stealing left and right. The same people who lack basic critical thinking skills. Who refuse to think outside of the box. Who think it’s a good idea that after I’ve put in all the legwork to track down my stolen car, I should then go by myself, alone to the neighborhood where I think it’s located. I mean me calling to request a police officer on the scene - what’s that about? Why would I even do such a thing?
As a former federal government employee who answered people's questions alll day long, we were often complimented by people for actually being helpful. We were the anomaly. People were in shock and awe when we a. called them back b. gave them an answer c. knew what the hell we were talking about. But the directors in our department truly believed that we were public servants and so that meant that we had to, you know, do our job. And do it well.
But I must tell y'all that I fear that if things are bad now, they will only get worse. For realz. I go into city schools everyday and here’s what I know: our babies can’t read. Like at all. Like for real. Like at all. And they can’t do math. And they lack reasoning skills. And I believe the children are our future. But what if they’re not being taught well? And yet, they are supposed to lead the way? Twenty years from now, they will be the people on the other side of the phone (I mean if we still have phones in the future).
What happens when a society doesn't invest in its children and teach them basic skills so they can navigate the world? What happens when a government doesn't invest in or even properly teach its people who work within the system? I mean why was there a woman at my government job who asked me what our agency did? Say what? And you been working here for how long? 11 years? So, basically you're just collecting a paycheck... What happens when the system doesn't hold its people accountable to provide quality service to their fellow citizens? How will things get done? How will things, you know, for real, for real, change?
It seems like a never ending cycle. Of politicians promising this and that. New blood coming in to change things and make it all better! But with the same system in place. The same bureaucracy. The same red tape. The same fcuking people. Over and over. Year after year. Slowing down the process of change. And I ask, “why? Why, Lord?" And then I press one for English and wait for some help...
That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!