Isn't it interesting how we all live in our own little bubbles - so oblivious to what's going on next door or down the block or on the other side of the tracks.
I sat down with a guy yesterday who is looking for a job. He came in with 4 piercings in his face - not just like a little loop or stud. These were serious pieces - kind of looked like spikes sticking out of the face. My initial reaction - goodness - he will never get a job with those piercings and tatoos. I probably judged him a little bit based on his appearence. We kept talking and working together for the next few hours and he was such a respectable guy. It turns out he is an apprentice tatoo artist. He explained to me all that goes into tatooing. It's actually pretty intense between the outline and coloring and shading.... Some of the tools are composed of 8 or 9 small needles that go back and forth over your skin to create shading. It causes excrutiating pain. And for the record, he does remove piercings for work.
Then there's the other part of the sub-culture that is so difficult to understand. A man told me that he got in a fight with a coworker, pulled a knife on him, and poked him. That gesture was apparently okay in the situation. As long as it's just a poke... Part of the subculture is a different understanding and perspective on what is violence. If it's just a poke, that's okay. As long as you only steal a little bit, you're justified.
There are the other clients who prefer to be in jail because atleast there they get fed 3 meals a day. When they are out of jail, no one will hire them for being felons. They are stuck in a cycle of perpetuating poverty and crime.
The world I work in is on the other side of the tracks from the bubble culture that I live in. There's a different reality here. I can't really comprehend how most of the people that I work with live. But, I am learning that although their culture is different and sometimes incomprehensible in my innocent Becky mind, there are a lot of good people just trying to make a life for themselves. Afterall, a life of petty crime is pretty honorable when you were raised in a family that was part of the Moffia.