Thursday, October 25, 2007

in the midst of so much good...

tuesday evening i went down to chicano park to serve dinner to volunteers and families who had been displaced as a result of the fires. we ended up also feeding several homeless people since we had so much food. over the last 2 days there have been some really disturbing events at the park - the san diego minutemen and even the police showing up because they heard that undocumented workers were among some of the people being helped. can you believe it? in the midst of so much good people can still do such ridiculous things. read more about what happened here. my friend beth brought up a good point today as i was telling her this a time like this, who do we see as human or not in our decision to help the "homeless?" tens of thousands of people are homeless right now who normally are does that change our perspective? ~aroll

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

a matter of perspective

things have been slow at the store (west elm) the last couple of days, for obvious reasons (see previous post). there has been more traffic in the store than i had anticipated, though. tuesday i did sell $2100 worth of leather sectional to a customer. i have gone home early the last two days in an effort to cut hours and save the store money. today they called and said i didn't need to come in at all. yesterday, however, i had an interaction with a customer that blew my mind. this customer had been in the store over the weekend and purchased several items that we were going to ship to her in new mexico. i came back from my lunch break yesterday to one of my stock guys asking if i could email this customer her tracking numbers (apparently she had just called). i said, "sure," and i called her to confirm the email address. i let her know that the items would ship that day (tuesday) since there had been no ups pick-up on monday due to the fires. the customer then became upset that the items wouldn't arrive in time for her movers on thursday and her house guests on friday. she wanted us to send the items 2-day air, and of course she wasn't going to pay because "it wasn't her fault." i tried to explain that it wasn't our fault either since the city was on fire, freeways were closed and 500,000 people had been evacuated from their homes. i had one of our managers call her back to explain the situation, and he told her the same thing..."do you understand the gravity of the situation?" the customer was still irate. really...your rugs and a couple of furniture pieces compared to the loss of nearly 2000 homes and businesses and nearly 600,000 people displaced from their homes. it's times like these that really change our perspective and shake us, hopefully waking us up to some sort of reality check of what is important in life. ~aroll

deja vu...firestorm 2007

sunday afternoon i went to meet some friends for a drink, and my nose caught a whiff of something that instantly transported me back 4 years. in 2003, a very large part of san diego was on fire. i was evacuated from my apartment and lived with friends for 4 days. sunday the fires returned in full force in san worse than 2003...and the smell of smoke has again pervaded the city. it is a very different experience, however, living where i do now. i am now living in a far more urban area, well-protected from where the fires are burning. working down in mission valley has kept me relatively isolated. we have been getting onshore winds up through the valley which have kept the air relatively clear. in 2003, the whole sky was clouded with smoke making it feel completely overcast. my closest connection this time is to a few friends who have been evacuated, and a couple of other friends who i found out yesterday have lost their homes. i went and served dinner to some volunteers and families who have been displaced at an evacuation center. everyone is in good spirits despite the uncertainty of the future for them. the outpouring of generosity and giving has been huge in san diego - evacuation centers have more food then they know what to do with, more volunteers than they can put to work...there is still good in the world. now if the news would only talk about that once in a while. (that's a whole other post.) oh, and the news is loving this, of course, naming it "firestorm 2007." do we really need to brand a disaster? (again another post sometime on my frustration with the current news media.) so for now life is again surreal...the winds are shifting and now blowing back in all the ash that had blown out over the ocean. it's amazing how a smell can trigger such vivid memories... ~aroll