Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Room

Every week I travel to Don Miller House, and I am able to spend time with my friend Dee Dee. We play all different types of games, and usually following a similar routine. We often spend our time sitting at the dining room table, but one night I had to follow Dee Dee upstairs to help her carry her laundry to the basement. This was a strange experience because I had never been to the upper level of the house, where the personal rooms of the residents are located.
Although my journey to the second floor was a simple one, it gave me a completely different view, of how Dee Dee and her housemates live. As we ran up the narrow staircase we made a quick turn into a very tiny bedroom. The room did not seem to fit Dee Dee, because she is so vibrant and full of life. The room was shallow in length but even more drastic to the eye, was the width of the room. With the tiny twin bed parallel to the wall, there was hardly enough room for both me and Dee to stand. Even though Dee Dee was smiling, because she was glad to show me her personal space, I suddenly became sad. I guess the people living at Don Miller House have much to be thankful for, because they have a roof over their head, and delicious food every night, but in that moment I felt they deserved more. Dee Dee’s room was so small; I felt that it must be hard for her to maneuver. The lighting was also dim which added to the eerie feeling that was hanging over me.
As I stood awkwardly in Dee Dee’s special place, I noticed a manger that was sitting on her dresser. When I looked closer, I realized that my family has the very same manger, which we place under our Christmas tree every year. I was delighted and told Dee Dee my interesting fact. Her eyes lit up and she told me she wanted me to have the manger. I am not sure if she understood what I meant. Maybe she thought that I really loved the manger, and wanted to have it for my own. Of course I was only pointing out that we had the same one. Nonetheless the excitement in her eyes was incredible. She was willing to give me one of the very few things that she owned. Most people I know are not too good at sharing, but Dee Dee was going beyond anything I ever could imagine. Her generosity and kindness, even if she did not realize, blew me away. Although it was a simple action it made me smile, despite the small dark room I was standing in.
As I read William Shakespeare Twelfth Night, the treatment of Malvolio reminded me of this experience in a twisted way. Obviously Malvolio and Dee Dee do not have similar personalities or character traits, but they both have been locked up in a dark small room. Even though Malvolio is arrogant, and only concerned with money and power, he is still innocent. Everyone in the play is making him out to be a lunatic, who deserves to be locked up, but he did find a letter. Malvolio may be a bit troubled and he might need to straighten out his priorities, but no one deserves to be shut in the darkness. The people working for Don Miller House, are not choosing to “lock up” their residents, but I do feel that society has put a taint on the disease AIDS. Over the years HIV/AIDS, has been a disease that not may people have understood. Before society understood how it spread, certain groups of people were singled out. In today’s world it is clear that anyone can be affected, but that does not stop people from feeling threatened. Although Shakespeare creates Malvolio in a malignant fashion, I still found sympathy for him at the end of they play. It is easier to find compassion for my friends at Don Miller house. Dee Dee and her friends are innocent, but society has chosen to place them in a distance and dark room.

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