On Monday (yes, two days ago), the mayor’s office sponsored this “school supplies giveaway” which teachers could attend to get free stuff, advertised as
Los Angeles Unified School District teachers will have the opportunity to shop for items including: calculators, paper, pens, desk top accessories, staplers, tape, stationary supplies, books, envelopes, chalkboards, labels, file folders, scissors, plus many more valuable supplies.
All items are FREE OF CHARGE and were donated by various corporations throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area.
Excited? very! Clusterfucked? very!
The previous week, teachers received a flyer in their box or a forwarded email informing them of the giveaway. Awesome! We had to RSVP. Great! I never got a confirmation letter, but one of my peers received a denial letter. I thought I was clear.
The giveaway started at 3:15. School ends at 3:00. Not a problem? Did I mention it was up by Griffith Park, and I’m in South LA? Simply having to clock out, check mail, stop by attendance and counseling offices means that even if I hurry, I’m not out of there until 3:30. So, I leave at 3:30, jump in my car and whoosh away to Griffith Park. Although “whoosh” is deceiving: it would imply I got there quickly. In fact, I did not arrive until 4:25. Parking? Full. Lot across the street? Permit only. Hmm.
Feeling defiant, I went to the permit only, looked around. I see another teacher, we exchange secret handshakes, and she informs me that “a lady from the mayor’s office” told her it was OK to park here, and if we get tickets “to give them to her.” Trust is essential, and I wasn’t gonna turn down free stuff, so I went for it.
When I got to the warehouse, no one asked for my RSVP, so I wondered why they would have turned down my colleague. Could he have just shown up anyway? Another colleague did, and was not turned away.
The warehouse was small, crowded, disorganized, and labyrinthine. I was told I was allowed to bring my roller caddy. Others were told they were not allowed their caddy.
As for the stuff? Well, look, I’m creative and I pride myself on recycling. I don’t typically look a gift horse in the mouth. You can feel the BUT coming, can’t you? A lot of it was old, and some of it was useless. I can find uses for scrapbook paper, emergency rations of water, dolls and carpet samples. I was curious why I (or anyone) would want inkjet VHS labels, or ZIP disks, or personalized souvenir magnets, or clock stands. Not clocks. Clock STANDS. They were a weird shape and I couldn’t imagine what kind of clock it would hold. How about a box full of “Like Water for Chocolate” keychains?
Regardless of the puzzling stuff being offered, there were tons of helpful items. I was grateful for the things I received. Don’t get me wrong. But I’ll close with an excerpt from a colleague’s email, when I forwarded the info to him:
call me ungrateful, but shit like this pisses me off.
why do we have to go way the hell to griff park to get stuff we should
already have? now if they’re dishing out laptops, desktops, printers and lcds’s. i’m there. is griff park on your way home?
I do not live anywhere near Griffith Park. I ate dinner in Silverlake, cruised by Secret Headquarters. I avoided traffic. I got home at 7 pm.