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…
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…