Overheard at the CSS Desk

Phone calls, including long distance calls, can be made from the CSS desk. You can’t help overhearing snatches of conversation. You can only hear one side, but like a Bob Newhart comedy sketch, you can often fill in the rest. Sitting at the CSS desk listening to a 6’ street kid on the phone telling his grandma that he loves her is a touching moment. Then another kid calls his Mom long distance. His mother refuses to talk to him and you have to look away.

“Is it OK if I come home?” asks another kid of his mother?…………. “Why do you want to know how long I’m gonna stay?…………. Mum, I already apologized for that! …………I promise I’ll only stay for half an hour to get some stuff. .……….No, I don’t want any money!” The call ends when he slams the phone down, and storms out. A staff member follows him down the stairs.

Another kid agonizes over calling his boss. We chat and I tell him to just do it. After days of imagining the worst, his boss completely understood (or just forgave!) – a lesson learned in “grasping the nettle.”

“Pick up the phone Mum, I know you are there. I actually have some good news this time. I have a place of my own……… I’m in rehab………….. I’m at Covey to get some clothes………… Can I come to see you?”……………… She cursed and slammed the phone down. Again, I looked away, and staff stepped in to deal with the anger and tears.

Phone calls, including long distance calls, can be made from the CSS desk. You can’t help overhearing snatches of conversation. You can only hear one side, but like a Bob Newhart comedy sketch, you can often fill in the rest. Sitting at the CSS desk listening to a 6’ street kid on the phone telling his grandma that he loves her is a touching moment. Then another kid calls his Mom long distance. His mother refuses to talk to him and you have to look away.

“Is it OK if I come home?” asks another kid of his mother?…………. “Why do you want to know how long I’m gonna stay?…………. Mum, I already apologized for that! …………I promise I’ll only stay for half an hour to get some stuff. .……….No, I don’t want any money!” The call ends when he slams the phone down, and storms out. A staff member follows him down the stairs.

Another kid agonizes over calling his boss. We chat and I tell him to just do it. After days of imagining the worst, his boss completely understood (or just forgave!) – a lesson learned in “grasping the nettle.”

“Pick up the phone Mum, I know you are there. I actually have some good news this time. I have a place of my own……… I’m in rehab………….. I’m at Covey to get some clothes………… Can I come to see you?”……………… She cursed and slammed the phone down. Again, I looked away, and staff stepped in to deal with the anger and tears.

Having someone around when you need to make a decision is also invaluable, and I guess that is one of the many things that make the Drop-In so effective. Usually that person is a staff member, but occasionally it makes sense for that person to be a volunteer. And when it does make sense it provides a moment that the volunteer will treasure.