Adventure: Run-of-the-mill Edition (Part 1)

Maybe i’m addicted. Who knows?  i certainly look forward to adventure – pushing the envelope of my experiences, tackling new activities, and going to places i’ve never been. There are probably a few ways to define it, but i like that feeling of risk – facing the unknown and an uncertain outcome.

Recently, i’ve been reminded that adventure is not just embodied in exotic SCUBA diving excursions, solo wanderings in unexplored cities, or hopping on a horse or motorcycle and testing my skills. A few recent happenings have reminded me that it doesn’t have to cost me a dime, either.

We’ll start with one example. This will be at least a two part series… assuming i get some downtime over the next couple of weeks to finish writing it up.

Exhibit A: When the anti-refugee sentiment was at a frenzy in the U.S. last autumn, i vented my spleen in a tirade on Facebook*. After getting trolled by an oxygen thief, who stopped by uninvited and took a shit in my virtual living room, i realized that social media is pretty useless when it comes to making an actual god damned difference in the world.

You can post witty and clever statuses, counting the “likes” received for affirmation that you are witty and clever. You can preach to the self-selected choir among your friends. You can even get into sniping contests with strangers, effectively taking a shit in another persons virtual living room.

Or you can get off your ass and do something useful.

Finding the agency responsible for refugee resettlement in town, i laid myself at the feet of the housing coordinator and said “Take me. Use me. Put me to work.” And she has. They arrive with nothing – in one recent case, just the clothes on their backs… i’ve spent hours cleaning homes, assembling bunk beds, moving furniture. Collecting household items to assist in start-up.

Emily, the coordinator, identified a need to match up refugees with bicycles, and had noted my involvement with regional bike advocacy efforts. “Ping!” There’s your opportunity! Working with the local bike co-op, a volunteer shop that refurbishes used bicycles, i had a job… One family at a time, my responsibility is to get recently resettled families hooked up with wheels.

The first gig? A father and older son from central Africa. Both spoke a little English, but i had nothing but a name, an address, and my volunteer badge to get started. Emily said they’d be expecting me on a particular Sunday afternoon. I had my orders. Showtime.

Driving to their home, i had butterflies in my gut… butterflies wearing combat boots, and doing a tango. “What if i screw this up? What if i do something culturally offensive? What if i can’t communicate well enough with them? What if there aren’t bikes available today that fit them? What if…?”

There were moments of confusion, and some careful clarifications required, but it all came together. As we drove from their home to the shop, they had questions. And i had answers… Driving through a suburb, looking at houses sitting on half-acre lawns.

Father: “Are these farms?”

daisyfae: “Some have gardens where they grow food, but these are homes with large lawns. They have to mow the lawn.”

Father: “It might be smart to grow food instead!”

daisyfae: “That would make more sense…”

Successful first outing, and more to come. i was terrified that i would make a horrible mistake. There was risk, but the reward was worth it! They were delighted when we returned to their home with two gently used bicycles. i brought them a tire pump the following weekend.

Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump…

learn to fly

Image found here

* That rant is resting comfortably in my Trailer Park drafts folder. i have a bunch of those… So much material, so little time…

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20 thoughts on “Adventure: Run-of-the-mill Edition (Part 1)

    • i’m never bored! Have long believed that you’re either growing or you’re dying, and i prefer growth… but it has gotten out of hand. This is the FIFTH volunteer job i’m working, along with the 40 hour a week gig. Winding down a few of the others – where i’m not really necessary. This will be a long term volunteer job…and carry through post-retirement.

    • Hey, woman! So good to see you here! I followed your work on photo restoration in Japan, and it was beautiful! i sent an e-mail from my ‘civilian’ account – has the point of contact for local refugee resettlement! Hope to run into you again!

  1. You know i don’t have much faith in humanity, you know how much i love my Vonnegut and Carlin and Hicks, (lately my favorite quote has been Bill Hicks, “Humanity, we’re a virus with shoes.”) and then you come along and post something like this which reminds me that we aren’t all shit, if i had more time i’d volunteer for more shit (other than my coaching the youth of America, which would probably scare the shit out of people if they read the lounge) but i do find myself wasting nothing, trying to find places to donate everything not wanted, from clothes to shoes to toys to bicycles to whatever, keep up the good work lady! the world needs more of it…

    • When the spawn were at home, my volunteer work was connected to their interests and activities – coach, room mother, show choir mom, skate park fundraiser, theatre… i didn’t have time for anything else. Now? i can go where my passion lies…

      Although i’ve worked my entire life, i also recognize my privilege and good fortune. Going into a healthy retirement at the age of 55? NO ONE gets to do that these days… so volunteer work is my way of managing the guilt. Face it… most good deeds have been motivated by guilt. i’m no saint, just feeling the weight of a life of privilege….

      When i’m dark and hating humans – which i am these days due to continued sniping from a peanut gallery of people who seem to want to cause me pain – it helps me to throw myself hard into the volunteer work. The people involved are good. i can work side by side with a stranger, and we simply appreciate each other for getting off the couch and doing something useful. No back stabbing. No jealousy. No bullshit. Just sweat…

  2. Oh, do I hear you on the sniper front! I’ve been told(in a waspish aside that I was meant to overhear) that “there are more than enough local charity cases without rushing off to be a do-gooder for bleedin’ foreigners.” I’m afraid I snapped back “yes, and they are, literally, bleeding!”

    • Yes. i’ve gotten that as well… my response is to ask “When did your people arrive here? Or are you Native American?” i also support the food bank, which feeds all. When asked why i’m supporting undocumented immigrants, i tell them that these are the people who HAVE been vetted, for over 18 months in some cases. Wading through a bureaucracy to run from war or religious persecution or genocide… Same people who are currently barking “All lives matter” here are the worst offenders…

  3. You are my new hero. Don’t give us Part 1 and then disappear for a month. I’ll come out there and turn you over my knee.

    One of my greatest accomplishments in life is staying off social media. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat…nothing. Imagine the hours saved. This doesn’t count. Blogging doesn’t count. Blogging is writing. There’s something healthy about it.

    • i’ve got Part 2 drafted… it’ll show up after i get a chance to do an aggressive edit. too many words… i’ve been blowing my goal of 500 words or less. i’m not nearly interesting enough to do more than that and keep the attention of the reader….

      Facebook is nothing but a shitshow these days. It’s fine for farting around, and i always offer a few words of comfort to someone for the loss of a friend, parent, or pet… other than growing, or maintaining, relationships with people who are geographically separated, it’s not worth much. People out there barking for attention… hours, and hours that could be spent living life, spent staring at a screen. i hope that the days of this time waster are coming to an end, but i’m afraid not… i like the new Pokémon, Go game, though. Getting people off of their asses – even if they’re still staring at a screen – is a step in the right direction!

  4. More power to you. I’ve had three friends who volunteered in such endeavors – one was a great experience, one so-so, one a disaster. It’s good that the world has folks like you that are willing to take the risks.

    • i can see where it can go from ‘great experience’ to ‘disaster’ in short order… what is most helpful here is that the local relief agency is absolutely stellar! Organized and efficient. It feels good to be supporting such a strong team. i continue to learn how privileged i am, and am reminded that despite the current political situation here, the United States has a lot of good…

        • As divided as the opinions are here, I like to believe we all want what is best for the nation… yes, even the politicians… and the ones I don’t agree with… I miss the days where bi-partisan compromises were negotiated for the good of all. Doesn’t seem possible now.

        • Those were the good days – today ideologies on both sides have used polarization as a tool – “If you’re not ENTIRELY with me – you ARE my enemy” – the result is hate.

    • Thanks. All good for the moment… She and her husband were here when the coup attempt happened (or I’d have probably shit bricks). Her husband is on his way home today – remarkable that the flights are on time, given the massive disruptions in the past few days… His family is well, as are most citizens. Long term? May not be stable, or good. i am so very impressed with the resiliency of the Turkish people.

    • One of several evolving niches… when retirement hits, I’m going to be exhausted! Not sure I’m worthy of emulation. You’d have to drink a lot more! 🙂

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