I'm late and I have to pee. The halls are mostly empty but I see the universal sign of a neatly dressed woman, white against the blue. The door is locked, damn, I mutter. It says Staff on it in big letters but I don't care. I yank on it like it might magically open if I pull hard enough.
Senorita? A man with a mop says from down the hall. Bathroom? I have the key. I turn and thank him and he opens the door. As he's fumbling with the key I say you mean I don't look like a student? He looks at me for a minute then laughs. No. Can't blame a girl for trying.
I find the room and peer inside, it's a group of high schoolers and I don't know any of them. In fact I don't really know what I'm doing here at all. Come and talk to my students about homelessness was all she asked. I asked for specifics and got an email in return thanking me for coming with a map of the school. Traffic was a bitch and I'm in a rich part of town.
The teacher introduces me and asks me to come to the front. There's no chair and damned if I'm standing so I pull a desk out of a row and sit on top. I tell them my story, why I care about this and why it matters, how alleviating suffering can be one of the things they choose to do with their lives. They look bored and you know, it's not that boring so feeling slightly offended I pause and ask for questions and none of them raise their hands. I wait a minute. You know, I didn't drive all the way up here to hear myself talk. If you guys don't raise your hands I'm calling on you. Fear sizzles across the room and hands stay at their sides. Good enough. Girl in the red sweater, why are people homeless? She's mortified but answers a decent answer and then a few more hands go up and we're rolling. But then one of them cites our recession as a reason, that our poor country has no money to do the right thing. And then I went all liberal-psycho and started bashing the government, going back administration by administration citing the failures and the fact that no matter what we want to tell ourselves, our country simply doesn't care about those who suffer in poverty and that we can't continue to subscribe to an establishment such as this. I think it was then the principal walked into the room.
The kids and teacher both started watching him as I continued to speak. I had a thought that maybe I might want to tone it down but then I figured what the hell will he do, make me leave? As I was (finally) wrapping up he smiled and said from across the room it's important to hear all viewpoints from the conservative to the liberal and I think that may have been his way of telling me I've filled their liberal quota for the month or maybe even the year.