In The Jungle
I sat at my usual study area at the SU Law Library today to read the hundreds of pages required for my first day of class on Monday. Nearing the 7th hour my back started aching, my head started hurting, and I was getting a bit hungry even though I took a lunch break earlier in the day and also took many water and restroom breaks. Hijueso I was exhausted. Me estaba llevando a la chingada mi espalda.
Last week I was home in McAllen and every morning when I woke up my parents were both gone to work. My father now has an office job working in my older brother's office, but my mom still works in a factory. "Es una bodega," she says. You'd think with five college educated kids there'd be enough cash to go around so she wouldn't have to work, but because of my parent's pride and because even with decent jobs it's still not as easy as one would think, my mom has to work in a bodega. And for some reason I'm reminded of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. It might be a stretch, but nonetheless, it reminded me.
She comes home after 8 or 10 hours of work sweating because there is no air-conditioning in this "bodega" and the temperatures are reaching 100 degrees. I hear the car when she arrives porque anda fallando. Es que las llantas ya no sirven.
She begins to tell me about her work as if it's the first time she's told me. "Ahora me dieron 250 papelitos y se los tuve que poner a los 250 abrigos que mandaron por la linia." She was attaching labels on 250 coats that flew through the line. At 57 my mom still works harder than the other workers. I've seen her work, she doesn't stop. But not, she comes home and talks about how tired she is before she begins doing house work. Yup, she getting older.
I stretched my back and kept reading. I drank some water and kept taking notes. I studied some more, just as I did this summer, and just as I've done for the last several days since I've been back in Seattle. People ask why I'm so serious about school. Well. I'm not sure if my focus will do me any good, but I want to feel like I did my all to ensure that I didn't cheat myself or anyone else of a receiving the education I am here to get. People ask why I'm so serious about school.