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by Casey White
March 28, 2002

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Urbanite_Casey White- The March wind blew, and the polar air mixed with the gulfstream to produce two feet of snow in the city. Those who did make it to work, proudly shared stories of their drive time near-disasters, and settled into their jobs -- a little late, but no worse for the wear.

About 10:30 AM, the mailroom clerk makes her way to my desk with an overnight letter package for which I have to sign. African-American. Single mom. Mid twenties. Very expressive. "How was it for you this morning?" I asked. "Oh fine," she said, "the bus came on time pretty much. But when I got my child to the child care, it was closed!"

"Oh, no," said I. "What did you do?"

"I had to call around and try to find a sitter. But they wouldn't let us use the phone there at the child care. Then I had to take my child back home, 'cause I got my niece to baby-sit, and then I had to get the bus back here. I lost over two hours of work!"

"They should have called the parents to say the child care was closed. That's the very least they could do. And who was telling you that you couldn't use the phone?!"

Her eyes opened wide. "The child care director."

It was a five minute lesson on urban life for a minority mom. Suddenly, I felt rich, privileged, and humbled. My car had not missed a beat. Neither had my mail.

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