I grew up in Bell. Yeah, that’s right, the city where the city manager made $800,000 a year and where dead people are alleged to vote.
I made minimum wage when I worked there, but that doesn’t keep me from going back. You see, my mom still lives there.
That means that she does things like use the library, and call the police, and go to the community center when the cameras aren’t staking out city employees.
And what a difference the attention makes. For years, she’s had to go get the city-discounted bus pass for senior citizens once a month. She’s had to take exact change and endure the disdain that the clerk at the counter and the other city employees dished at her when all she wanted to do was buy a bus pass. I can’t count the hours she’s spent wondering what the hell she did to these people to make them hate the five minutes they had to spend with her once a month.
I know I complain about my mom’s eccentricities, but like many a mother, she’s only weird to her family. She’s pretty pleasant and charming when it comes to strangers.
Because my mom is a relatively private person (she doesn’t know I put all her stories on this blog and in my comedy act), I thought the national attention lavished on Bell of late would disturb her. After all, she bought her bus pass this week with all of the local news channels watching outside the community center’s doors.
But, she LOVED it. She loved that her service this month came with a smile. There was a “How may I help you?” There was a “Let me tell you about all the other things the city has to offer.” She actually saw police officers in the neighborhood. The attention made her happier, safer. “Se portaron como angeles,” she said.
Sure, she knows the LA Times, the FBI, the Attorney General and others will probably lose interest by summer’s end, but until then, she’s making sure to visit every city office and check out a ton of books from the library. Oh yeah, and if you’re her noisy neighbor–beware! She will be calling the cops on you.
She’s that kind of mom.