04/15/03: Happy Tax Day! Right now I could say, lalala, I did mine in February and got my refund in March, hahaha, but that wouldn't be nice at all, so I won't. :)
The other night I had a dream where I was vividly aware of being on the Isle of Lewis. It was strange, mostly because I've never been there and couldn't even point to it on a map. If asked, I may not even remember it's in Scotland. But in this dream I was driving around the Isle of Lewis, speaking with an accent and everything (but English, since I have trouble mastering the Scottish accent). I believe there was a Blockbuster video involved too, oddly. Maybe my brain is fully realizing its clairvoyancy or something. If I'm ever on Lewis and have a deja vu, I'll know it's real! Man, I'm weird. Maybe I'm just excited about New York and TrailBlazers. I am really excited for that, actually. TrailBlazers is so gorgeous, and it's so refreshing and wonderful and challenging to be in nature like that, it's so intense! I remember so much about it, in great detail; I'm almost scared to go back because it will literally hurt to be somewhere so familiar without my team. (Yes, here I go again. This is why I have an imaginary audience, because they won't get all exasperated with me for covering the same ground time and time again.) And I'm in that stage of not really believing it, you know? It's a big thing (just the idea of the long, middle of the night flight is a big deal), and it's in the future, and those things always seem the slightest bit unreal for me. Like it won't actually happen.
Speaking of AmeriCorps, I'm having a bit of an inner conflict. Well, not really, I guess it's just seeds of ideas taking place and wandering about. Last night I attended a meeting for team captains for Seattle Works Day (Seattle Works, remember, is the local chapter of City Cares. This event is a fundraiser/serve-a-thon event). The 'alumni' folk were talking about how much fun it is, how everyone gets dirty and grimy doing manual labor, how motivated everyone is to get lots of work done. And I just couldn't help remembering my whole last year. That was our life, doing grunt work, stuff no one else wants to do, trying to get motivated every single day to go out and give your all. It got boring a lot. There's a huge difference between less than half a day's work, one time a month, and forty hours a week for two months! Raking again, painting again, etc etc. But somehow I can remember it as being fun. We would play games or gossip or whatever. Some stuff was so unfun that it was fun--like scraping the paint off the dockboards. (That became symbolic in its infamy.) Scraping the paint in the basement of the lodge was satisfying, because it would come off in big chunks and spray out at you when you got going all fast.
Then I remember the service days--National Youth Service Day last April, Make a Difference Day in October, and the all-corps service day in November. For the first event, my team cleaned up a bird sanctuary in Baltimore. Man, we made such a difference! I think we filled five city dump trucks and eight pickup trunks with all the trash and debris. Remember, there was all kinds of junk--a refrigerator, a shopping cart, a tv, a vacuum cleaner, various parts of car (fender, wheels, grill), plus tons of just trash. Empty alcohol bottles and junk food wrappers.And we found those tiny baby kittens! At first it was so tedious, but then we got into it, seeing what we were really doing--actually making a whole neighborhood better. Same thing in November, we cleaned up several tens of tons of trash. Right in downtown Baltimore--tires, rats, needles, all sorts of non-beautifying items. That was an incredible day, I loved it. What a rush, to see the before and after difference!
What all this is about is how much I miss it. I miss my life being part of something bigger, something important, something incredible and unique. I miss the comraderie, the way no one else in the world can even begin to understand what last year was like. I miss the excitement of learning about our new projects, of packing that red bag with all three outfits for the next eight weeks. I miss the way that even routine, tedious stuff is mildly exciting, because you know that you don't realize what it really means until it's over. I really miss meeting the people--such a vibrant variety of humankind exists outside of my normal life! It's thrilling. While I enjoy my job right now, it's interesting and completely new to me, it's a job. I have a desk and a chair and a computer and a phone and I deal with paperwork all day. I know how to unjam the copier. I feel so utterly normal, boring, superficial, unspecial.
I want to recommit myself to service. Right after I save up some money and get some real experience for the Real World. I think I really want to go back to work for the world