Friday, November 27, 2009

Kicked Out of My Own Church--and Lovin' It! (Part-3)

Having left Laura to her polite panhandling at the Catholic Church, my next stop was the reception area of the Church of Scientology. The reason I stopped in was that I'd noticed a commercial real estate sign on the side of their looming fourth Avenue headquarters. In the glass walled reception area I saw, sitting behind a desk a young man, perhaps in his late twenties. I opened the glass door and inquired about the for sale sign, "Is this building really for sale," I said. "Yes," the young man replied, "we're aquired a property in LaMesa and we are moving there." I expressed surprise, saying, "Wow--you guys have been here a long time, moving huh?" He affirmed it again. I asked his name and he told me it was Julian. Once I'd mentioned to him that I'd read L. Ron Hubbard's book, Dionetics, back around 1970, julian invited me to their service. "Since you  were interested back then, perhaps you would like to attend our service? It starts in about 15 minutes." "No thanks" I said, "I'm on my way somewhere just now and can't stay. Thanks for the invite though." With that I took my leave and headed out the door. I guess for Julian, that morning, i was "the one that got away."

At about Fourth and "C" Street I noticed an electric cart curbside with a woman who looked to be a city worker sitting inside making some adjustment to a piece of equipment. I paused and called out "hello" to her. Then I said, "My church assigned a bunch of us to go out into the neighborhood and meet people--so could I talk to you for just a minute?" "Sure, why not," she replied. To my inquiry, she told me her name was Tina. From my conversation with her I learned that she didn't work for the city, but for A Clean and Safe San Diego, an agency of the CCDC--the Center City Development Corporation. Tina works about 30 hours a week and is responsible for cleaning sidewalks, storefronts and where ever there are messes needing to be cleaned up on her beat. She works 6:30 3:00p.m. four days a week. I was surprised to learn that the CCDC deploys a clean up crew 24-hours a day. I never knew. I thanked Tina and made my way one block over to my destination--the public restrooms at 3rd and "C" streets.

Her daddy was waiting to take his little 3-year-old girl into the women's bathroom. As he waited for the Women's room to be vacated, he was talking sports with the attendant. His little girl's outfit was as neat  and attractive as the corn rows which some miticulous person had done and finished each row off with a colorful bead about he size of an cherry pit. While I waited to talk to the attendant, the little girl looked up at me and said, "I'm scared." I knelt doen to ask her what she was afraid of but she couldn't quite articulate it--or I couldn't make it out. She was a bright, talkative and bold little girl. As we talked, she carefully, slowely pulled my pen from my hand and asked if she could write on the large index card I was holding. I told her she could and I held the card for her. She scribbled as I asked, "What's your name?" "Bella" she said softly but quite clearly. She then began to push my pen back in my hand and asked me to write her name. When I finished, she wanted to try and copy what I'd written. Just when she finished, her father called her because the bathroom was now available. When they came out, I heard him sat you Bella as they left, "C'mon Bella," we've got to catch the troly and get to church. Off they raced as the arriving trolly came to a noisy stop a half a block away.

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