Tuesday, April 15, 2003

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

Friday, April 04, 2003

04/04/03: Holy crap, it's already April. Time of bunnies and chocolate and daffodils--spring is in the air! I love it when the weekends are sunny and warm, it feels wonderful. I am so out of it that I still think it's winter. Maybe it technically still is, but all the fruit trees are blossoming, it's so pretty.

So let's see. Last weekend I got another new toy--a shiny new scanner! Since it's been awhile that I've hankered for one, I'm very excited. Have already uploaded all my Ameri-pics to my big spacious computer, and now am scanning the ones I didn't already have. Then I will go through my childhood pics and scan those too. Fun times for geeks like me!!

One big thing is happening relatively soon. The first weekend of May is Operation Muscle at TrailBlazers, the decentralized camp in the woods of rural New Jersey where Fire 4 toiled for our first spike. Operation Muscle is an event designed with two purposes in mind, at least as far as I can tell: first, to help get the camp ready for the summer (which believe me, is a huge, gargantuan task), and bring together alumni and generations of past and future campers, for whom TrailBlazers is a very special and meaningful place. And I will be there! I can't wait. I know it will be intensely, achingly familiar but completely different. At the very least, my team won't be there. I won't have to wonder what good I could possibly be doing by raking leaves in a darn forest (we learned last year how many things need to happen for a successful running of sessions, and unfortunately there are a lot of mundane things like cleaning and washing dishes that are necessary). So I'm excited, even for silly things like sleeping outdoors. I'm going to take a nice long weekend and also visit New York City for a bit.

Okay. I know that there's more I can talk about. But right now I can't even think of anything, my brain is addled after yet another crazy fast week at work. I'm hoping to have the energy and motivation to go in to work tomorrow instead of Sunday. As much as I know that the work needs to be done and that I could easily do a lot more, I selfishly want one single day free. Then, of course, that day speeds by and is over before I know it, and I have to work again. Goodness. This week was weird and busy, yet also more unproductive than most, because of a reshuffling of people and jobs and desks and phones. I'm at my fourth desk in my just-over-two-months at this job, and now I've started working with government files, which rather baffle me. I'm quite comfortable with conventional files and yet still know so little about those, which I've worked with for about two months. Egad.

For the past month, my sleeping patterns have been severly altered. Perhaps a mere handful of nights have found me sleeping soundly through the night. The rest of the time I just can't stay asleep. I certainly don't get up or anything, I'd much rather be in bed. But oh, it's so frustrating to know it's 5am, and I have to get up at 7, and pleasepleaseplease can't I just sleep, for crying out loud? If sound slumber were a vice, I would have freely admitted myself a sleep addict. The more, the better. I love looking forward to climbing into my bed, with the whale and leopard and dog (all stuffed of course) to keep me company. Realizing it's the middle of the night and I'm not asleep is just torturous for me. I always want to throw a tantrum or something when the alarm goes off and I get up, feeling like crap yet again. Argh.