I am having a hard time getting started today. I took the 8:30 bus this morning, the one the kids at the alternative school take. They always sit in the back of the bus, a small mob of them. The talk very loudly and shout each other down and basically act like kids, to an extent. It's the content of their conversations that I find depressing. Yesterday, one girl was complaining that her drug dealer tried to charge her for so many ounces when clearly HER scale showed so many more. I gathered that she was not simply purchasing for personal use. This morning, there was a lively discussion about who among the “hustlers” may be a snitch. Apparently, several of them had been picked up by the police recently. There was some suspicion about a few who managed to get released without charges.

Their conversations generally range from depressiong to downright scary. One morning, they had apparently met up early and had a few joints before school. I swear the smell of marijuana so permeated the bus that by the time I got to work, I was pretty sure that if I had to take a drug test that day I'd fail. I used to be impressed that these kids even went to school, given their life choices. Then I figured out that going to school is a condition of their parole for most of them. The others go because that's where their friends are during the day and also for the free lunch.

Where are these kids headed? Most of them already have some kind of crimimnal record. The only reason they are not in prison yet is because they are still juveniles. I don't know how to deal with them. They don't frighten me, but they depress the hell out of me. They make me worry for the future. I want to tell them to shut up, keep their voices down on the bus. I want to tell them to find a better way to make a living than selling drugs to their friends. I want to tell them that they have hope and opportunities that they could screw themselves out of by mucking about in all this illegal activity. I doubt they would listen. I imagine they would find me amusing and then go on about their business.

I really have to find a different bus to take.

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