The phone rings. An automated message in Spanish. The only words I understand are “mensaje importante” and “escuela.” Important message from school. I get these twice a week. I press buttons. Nothing makes it English or puts a person on or gets an answering machine. Call back, get an 18 minute outgoing message about which dates free school lunch applications are accepted in person. Friday… July… 18th.. from…. 12…PM…to… 2… PM. 20 of those and then again in Spanish. The mailbox is full.
Some kid whose parents are poor immigrants is supposed to get an important message from his school. He can’t get it because they have one digit wrong. Maybe the parents are supposed to show up to a conference and they don’t. Maybe the kid is going to gets suspended. They could have fought back. He’d have graduated. Not now. Maybe it’s the call that they don’t have his signed permission slip. All the other kids get to go on a cool field trip and he’s left behind by himself. He is crying; he feels like shit, because I can’t figure out how to get through to these people. My kid, I think. My kid, because he has my phone number, is getting fucked out of the field trip and it’s devastating him.
How come the phone never rings when I’m standing near a Mexican. I’m always near Mexicans. Hand it off to them and they could tell me what to do, but no. I’m sorry, Pedro. Maria. Whateverthefuck your name is. Your future is destroyed. My fault.