It’s 11:55pm, on a Saturday. After another long night at the restaraunt, I sit down on the park bench outside the hotel with my co-worker Michael. He’s one of the three Jamaicans I wrote about last month. We spoke a little on the day’s stress, his wanting a new hairstyle, and other stuff like that. Then the conversation turned toward the future. I asked Michael about his plans after his time working at the hotel was over.
He said he always liked to have two plans. So that he could be prepared for whatever might happen…
He said he wanted to try and stay in the United States. He said he loved where he came from, and reiterated several times more that he did–but he made it clear that he didn’t wanna live in Jamaica anymore. He also spoke about his desire to work for himself, and be his own boss.
I have a very creative mind. I’m only twenty-one years old but…I believe I have a very creative mind and I know what it is I’m going to do to achieve the level of success I want…
Again, this is a twenty-one year old guy who flew over to another country to work at a high-caliber hotel and restaraunt. He’s incredibly well spoken and carries himself like someone much older than himself. I’m proud of his poise and determination. He’s very aware of not only the opportunity he has been given, but he’s also very aware of his blackness. Meaning he’s aware of how many others have also been put in a similar situation and have not taken advantage of it. The negative stereotype that African-Americans and other non-American blacks carry fall on his shoulders, and he’s doing his very best to not let it deter him from his goals.
There are so many others who could be great at what they wanted to do, had it not been for them being distracted. They will allow themselves to be preoccupied so much so that the tremendous opportunity they’ve been given vanishes.
And so I sat there, part of me tempted to pull out my audio recorder; the other half focused on my friend’s words all the while nodding along.
He was sharp. Like a thumb tack.
Ironically enough, after I had told him I was a writer, he suggested that I should write about my conversations with him and the others. I could only smile and nod in agreement.