ymca.


i don't really talk about what i do in the after school program, mainly because i do nothing. my main supervisor, michael, didn't really tell me anything about what i should be doing. he didn't even give me a real application. i ended up applying at the human resources office after i got the job. but, apparently he said i was qualified to receive the title of "enrichment specialist," which earns $20 an hour, compared to the title "instructional assistant," which is what most students are labeled. they only get $10 an hour.

i work for the nutrition program, and so far, i have done nothing more than peel apples, cut bananas, and make smoothies for kids. i don't really questions it, since, did i mention i'm being paid?

one day, michael asked if i had a minute. "sure," i said. i ended up sitting through an hour long discussion about how some of the students were being accused of talking on their cell phones, making out, and even "inappropriate touching." after the hour long discussion ended, michael said, "come on, we'll talk while we're walking."

"how are things going so far?" he asks with his african accent.

"pretty good."

"mm. are you liking the nutrition program?"

"yeah," i say. "it's okay. but i really thought i was going to be in charge of an after school tutorial. that's what i'd really like to be doing."

"hmm, i see. yes. you have my cell phone number?"

"yes."

"okay, why don't you give me a call and we can discuss your position some time this week."

i hesitate. did i just sit through an hour long meeting just so i could reschedule with him? "okay, i'll do that."

we meet again on a thursday before lunch. he leads me to his van and i get in. i buckle my seatbelt. "oh," he says. "we're not going anywhere."

"okay," and i unbuckle my belt.

"do you have experience other than academia?"

i think about the question. "no, not really."

"no sports? do you swim?"

"no. i played soccer in the sixth grade. and then some basketball."

"hmm," he says.

"i like to ride my bike." this is a lie. while i do enjoy bike riding, i often worry that it will lead to a bout of prostatitis. meagan even got me a special seat.

"oh, good," he says. "would you feel comfortable teaching others how to ride as well?"

"yeah, i think i could do that." i think back to the time i was 14 and my dad finally got around to teaching me how to ride. it ended up with me falling, getting pissed, and throwing my bike into his volkswagon. when we got home, i slammed the door behind me. he followed me into my room and trashed it.

the meeting ends. two weeks later, i'm still surrounded by high school latinas and chicanas, cutting apples and making smoothies.

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