Saturday, April 26, 2008

Poor Poor Roddy, Flushed Down His Own Potty

**This post was revised and sent to Compassion for their blog--I'm not sure if they're going to use it or not, but because this one differs enough (I omitted the singing sewer rats from Compassion's), I'll go ahead and post this here.**

Haitians, and singing London sewer rats, put things into perspective for me.

As you may know, poor poor me broke down on the side of the road the other night. And poor poor me, we had taken our other car to the shop that day. What a sad sad fate.

Ricot, my coworker in Haiti, was asking how I was, so I launched into my tale of woe. To Ricot. A Haitian. Who two weeks ago couldn't go into work because hungry mobs were throwing rocks through the windows of his office. Who, as part of his daily job, visits children who live under scraps of aluminum and play in the raw sewage stream that trickles by their home.

And here's me (spoken in Valley Girl), "Yeah, my car broke down, and like it's really hard, 'cause like, my other car is in the shop, and like if I want to go to the mall, I'm going to have to call a friend, and like I just ate 4,000 calories at Carrabba's last night on like fried zucchini sticks and lasagna, and I'm like so full, and yeah, my life's pretty hard."

Then the song from my current favorite movie, "Flushed Away," starts drifting through my head, sung by those adorable sewer slugs, "Poor Poor Roddy, Flushed Down His Own Potty. Someone can't you find it in your heart to help him..."

Only it's, "Poor Poor Ammy, Wants to Eat Some Jammy..." but then the song drifts off, because that doesn't make any sense. But I get the point. Thank you Hugh Jackman as a London sewer rat and your sewer slug friends, for this subtle reminder that my life's not so bad.

Ricot, in turn, doesn't say: "Let me get this straight, I'm living in a country where 8 out of 10 of my countrymen live on around 90 cents--90 cents!--a day and are eating mud cakes and you're complaining about how your two cars--two cars!--are giving you trouble?!!!"

No, he didn't say that. First of all, I don't think Haitians say, "Let me get this straight"--a little WASPy and uptighty for an islander. Instead he said, "It's really funny!" (That is me, with two broken cars is really funny.) "I laugh a little bit, but I am so sorry."

There you go. Grace from a Haitian. I've got a lot to learn around here.


Mike said...

Nothing like perspective. I say this as the person who has spent hours of the last few days waiting for cars, going to pick up cars, messing with cars, etc. But at least I was able to have a decent attitude about it, thanks to perspective. These are, after all, headaches brought on by conspicuous affluence.

Amber said...

I love that: Headaches brought on by conspicuous affluence. Perfect. I'm stealing that.

Becky said...

Amber, I LOVE this post!!! So glad you're writing for the blog.

Amber said...

Thanks, Becky.
I'm excited to write for the CI blog too!