Monday, November 3, 2008

Community Is Contagious

If all our weenie wishes come true today, the commies I read and listen to say, we'll still have a lot of work cut out for us. Along with cultivating awareness and saving the Earth, we'll have to cultivate community. We'll need community organizers, I guess.

In my own tiny way, I've been trying to create/engage in community for years, ever since the demoralizing W ascendancy, because it seemed the only thing constructive to do (I had friends who moved to New Zealand, but that wasn't really an option for us). And just like saving energy and changing your habits, making community is hard, really, really fucking hard.

Because community means head lice. Community means getting people to come to the special meeting at the school with the outreach person from Children's Hospital who will tell us how to get rid of the head lice. Community means everyone actually has to do the work to get rid of the head lice.

Community means having a mom in the babysitting coop tell you "she only threw up once this morning" when she drops her kid off, and it means you might have to live with the fact that your kid might be throwing up by that night, because the mom has to work, but so do you, so what do you do? Community means trying to figure out how to avoid the mom that makes veiled and coded racist comments, and wondering what you should do about it.

Community means listening to the woman in your activist group who always seems to have some exotic ailment but you think she'd probably feel better if she stopped eating Doritos and walked around the block once in a while. Community means wondering if you should say something like that. Community means not getting impatient with the handsome egotistical guy who dominates every single discussion and thinking you could shut him up pretty quick if you shoved your tongue into his mouth. Community means making yourself stop and pay attention and keep your mind on the issue. Community means wondering if you're the person everyone is wishing would shut up, or go away. Community means trying to find a nice way to tell someone in your art workshop that what they're pushing is a bad idea. Community means feeling stupid when people don't like your poem. Community means getting annoying emails with dire warnings discounted on Snopes years ago, and then getting emails defending the emails.

Community means weeds. Community means the woman two garden plots over making snippy comments about the weeds in your garden infecting the rest of the garden. Community means overhearing lots of people making snippy comments about your weeds.

But community also means the old guy who is the keeper of the garden's fig trees, who is himself as round as a fig, whose English you can barely understand, chattering at you and piling your hands full of ripe, sticky figs.

Every day I think of getting out of every community I struggle to be a part of. But just like healing the Earth, there really is no other option for survival than learning how to be together in ways that don't involve buying something.

On another note: Many thanks to Brotherman for sending the Alejandro Escovedo live tracks. I love his work just with the string quartets. Strings have been getting to me more lately--we just went to see Rachel Getting Married and there's violin and fiddle work all through it, plus just this little chunk with Robin Hitchcock almost acoustic with strings just swelling it out, giving it so much heft.

Photo: Above CB's are not from the following site, but there's one that has 365 freaking days of Grumpy Bear, love it.

1 comment:

Pam said...

Going to Hitchcock at the Birchmere, perchance? I'll be there.

This is a great meditation you wrote. I love the idea of community. I just wish I liked people more.