Will volunteer for food

April 24, 2007

After a weekend of volunteering and paper avoidance (well, mostly avoided–I managed to confine the final paper for Library Networks & Systems to a space of five hours on Sunday afternoon), I am relieved to report that I am feeling much better. I am calmer about job changes and less anxious about what I’m doing with my life and pretty much more excited to get up in the morning than I was last week. Whether or not this change is due in part or in whole to mysterious and uncontrollable fluxes in hormones, I cannot be sure. It occurs to me that the fact that most of the months of my life, judging from this blog, seem to contain some kind of emotional turbulence, and that this might be a sign of something… but I don’t see any way around that until I give up on the birth control for good and manage to spend a couple of years straight in the same country, state, city, job, and career path with no births, deaths, rent increases, severe hurricanes, dermatologists, crappy program administrators, or lacks of health insurance in my immediate vicinity. Is this too much to ask for? Probably. As Lestor Freamon said on The Wire last night, “Life is the s#$* that happens while you are waiting for moments that never come.” Now last week, the inescapable truth of this statement would have sent me into a tizzy of despair and cynicism. But this week, I think I’m going to use it as one more encouragement to just enjoy the s&*$ out of everything and make like a yoga teacher and find some godd@$* peace in the storm.

So, back to the saga of volunteering. We headed down to Miami on Friday night, and I was sad that our schedule didn’t allow for us to stop by Diego and Frida’s, but after everything I blogged about on said Friday from hell, I figured we’d best play it safe and not risk passing on our bad luck to others. It’s highly contagious in the first 24 hours.

Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 5:30am, which somehow still allowed us time to crack the laptop and get an hour by hour weather report for Key Largo before hitting the road at 6:30. Ish. While we were looking up the weather report, Daniel showed me how to change the theme on my Google homepage, which has a feed of weather reports from a variety of world cities, including Lisbon and Tashkent. While we were noting the balmy conditions in Uzbekhistan, I scrolled down a little farther to check out my horoscope, which I haven’t done in an age. For the second time in my life, the horoscope was so accurate that it convinced me that there must be some kind of validity to them. It hit the nail right on the head, saying that although my creative powers would soon return, that I was in a little bit of a dry spell and that instead of beating a dead horse, I should avoid all abstract thought and do something with my hands. It’s like the astrologer just knew that I had struggled for hours to write not even a full page of my postcolonial theory final paper. Bingo. Suddenly, instead of dreading a day away from school work, spent handing out water and bananas to grateful marathon bikers, I realized that it was just what I needed. No books, notebooks, laptops. No Bhabha or Spivak or Foucault. Sunshine, breezes, and physical effort were just what I needed to become human again.

And so it was. After getting over my crankiness at the early hour and disgusting parade of McMansions that we encountered while driving south, I got into a Zen ice water pouring groove. It helped that they provided plenty of snacks for us too, and nice bag lunches with Doritos and Oreos. Of which I snagged all the extras and am currently using them to avoid cooking this week–unlike the bananas, which were being taken to Metro Zoo, they were just going to throw the sack lunches out so I didn’t see a reason to let that happen. They used real, thick cut turkey. And in further stomach-delighting news, after our day of rest stop supervision came to an end, we closed off the day with a trip to Gilbert’s, my favorite Keys waterfront tiki bar. It had been way too long since I had a grilled fish sandwich and a beer and watched the sun go down. So the day ended much better than it started, tired and mellow and completely glad to live in Florida. At least for now.

Then Sunday, we got up a little later but still headed out to give some food to some people. In this case, that meant heading up a pancake breakfast fundraiser at church to support the youth group’s mission trip to New York City. They will be working soup kitchens with the Quakers by day and touring the city by night. I’m kinda sad I won’t be chaperoning, but I’m still having a good time helping out with the lead-up. Plus, we once again made out like bandits with all the pancakes we could eat and some homemade cupcakes. Like, not even from a mix cupcakes. I was so high on sugar that I barely remember writing that paper a little bit later in the day.

So I guess that despite the crappiest of moods and the heaviest of workload, volunteering remains a sure-fire way to get one’s head out of one’s behind. That and sunshine, beer, and sugar.

Okay, there’s a lot of other thoughts percolating in my head, so I’ll start some briefer posts soon, now that I’ve got the life update out of the way.


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