While working at Rosati’s (our family pizza store) the other day and engaged in conversation with Josh, the driver, I reflected on the situation and smiled. Two completely different people with the most contrasting life experiences were working together, sharing jokes, and having good conversations.
Josh is 22, unmarried, lives with his girlfriend, has 2 kids, never finished high school, moved out when he was 15, is half-greek from his dad’s side, he doesn’t speak to his dad, smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, overweight with high cholesterol, has never flown in an airplane, has never been outside the midwest, and works at Rosati’s Pizza as the delivery guy.
I am home for a month halfway through my graduate program on Islamic Studies, which is in London, am 25 years old, also unmarried but also without kids, working on a masters degree, still very connected to my family and parents, of South Asian descent, striving to live a healthy organic lifestyle, flown to more countries than fingers on both hands, and also am working at Rosati’s answering phone calls and taking orders.
I like the idea that our paths have crossed and maybe there is no reason other than sheer coincidence that we’ve ended up at the same place, but I think it’s pretty cool that Josh and I get along so well and can laugh about mundane things and learn from each other’s life experiences.
Josh told me about his high school days and how he got kicked out of high school. It seemed he was one of those “problem” kids in school, but he also seems like someone who has “cleaned up his act”. His story made me frustrated with the administration that was so quick to dismiss him, presumably because people like him made their school reputation look bad. He did go to a school that is reputable for a public school in the suburbs of Chicago. Had the school admin looked a little deeper, they would have seen that Josh just came from a troubled home and perhaps school could have been his positive outlet. They didn’t give him that chance.
He’s been trying to pass the GED, which is the test for people who never completed high school, but unfortunately has been unsuccessful. Meanwhile I’m studying for the GRE and feel pretty similarly about my progression.
Josh and I are both struggling with the language arts/verbal sections of our tests. I told Josh that reading might help, since he mentioned to me that he has read one book in its entirety ever. I always take in books to read at the store since there is plenty of downtime, so I think I’ll take in a book or two and see if he wants to give reading a shot. When he told me he had only read one book ever (and didn’t even know which book that was) I couldn’t help but feel that he was missing out on something.
Meanwhile, Josh has a good attitude towards life, seems optimistic, and dreams big. He has high hopes for his life and that makes me happy. I really hope he gets to do the things he talks about doing. I hope he passes his GED, which he has one more chance at.
I probably won’t keep in touch with Josh when I go back to London, but I’ll always remember his positive attitude and I’ll always hope he succeeded in all that he set out to do. And maybe something about my life will resonate with him and stick with him.