Volunteer

Hey gorgeous, can I buy you a book?

Embracing my midlife crisis for the 10th year, I’m reflecting less on the inside of myself, as I am on the world I live in. Is our culture making me feel critical about myself, and will I never fit in? I’m not a Generation X kid, and I’m not a Millinneal, I was born on the cusp.

I’m that crummy friend that is only half-heartedly enthusiastic about your music. If you want to talk about Dr. Dre and Bob Marley, frigging excellent! Bring in some Adele, and mix it up with some Nora Jones, and that’s great too! But really, who in the world is this band your raving about, as I’ve never heard of them, and why are all these girls who are taking me home, listening to Michael Jackson!?!?

When I was eleven the computers were coming into the schools. I didn’t grow up with a cell phone, in fact I was odd in my pursuit of more Luddite activities than the tech of the age. It wasn’t until I was twenty-two that I got my license to drive(I was an old virgin for having almost Hippy parents too),and the pages of books will always trump a screen, but still…I’m now a blogger who dabbles in erotica poems about bolts, and I love driving fast….

Reading TK’s post, reminded me to write about this, and gave me new insight into why I wanted to. Here’s the comment I cut there, as a transition for this post:

“I loved how your article questioned the way technology is potentially isolating people by limiting their social skill sets. As I was reading your comments, I noticed your charms, and haven’t the slightest doubt that you can make friends anywhere. For example, a book called “The Art of Conversation” described the pleasure you find in sole activities, as fuel for interesting conversation. Who wants to hear only about subjects their already passionate about? In my life I’ve had similar questions as the ones you raised, and opposite conclusions about my experiences in communities. It has never been hard for me to make friends, in fact quite the opposite, it’s too easy, and I get overwhelmed by their lack of satisfaction in my escape to the serenity, of how you described your free time.” I

I hope you’re doing something outrageous with your fun that becomes a challenge to describe to others. Volunteering has always been in that department for me, as I see it as a way to build community. I never cease to advise other men that if they want to find a girlfriend, they should care about something enough to dedicate their free time to the less fortunate, or a common vision of fun. It shows a potential mate that you are abundant with energy to give(who wouldn’t want that in a partner or friend), and that you have similar moral, recreational, and political standards.

The SCA has a motto that describes this phenomenon well: “If you can’t get laid in the SCA, you can’t get laid anywhere”. I learned this by crashing one of their small events in the middle of the country with a group of buddies. We formed an amoeba in the dark, lurking at the edge of their circle of light in the field, until a shout was raised, and we were circled by a group of people in costumes with swords.

Having heard about these gatherings before, I knew the street clothes we were wearing weren’t going to fit in, and all my buddies were borderline jocks, so they wouldn’t be able to mesh with the fruitcakes as well as I would, so our silly amoeba worked. None of us got laid, but the cordial, mead, and beer laced entertainment was what we had come for, and without costumes we were given the titles of Servant, Slave, or Peasant to choose from, so go figure. Next time I’ll wear a cloak of feathers lined with velvet, and help set up the tents.

As an Executive Director in training, I’ve helped build and maintain non-profits as a bottom liner, and from a position of power in businesses that failed because I spent my time training, teaching, and building my coworkers skill-sets, instead of focusing on profits. My love for the sense of community that I find in non-profit work, is a generator for my passion to blog, and I will continue to volunteer for the rest of my life, as it has a way of making friendships feel as family.

My biggest challenge as I see it, is to learn how to shut the office door of building the dreams, and preserve something for myself. This dilemma arrived for me with the joy of experiencing hope, by working with people towards a common vision of peace, health, spiritual balance, clean rivers, abandoned pets, underdog empowerment, art markets, festivals etc. I love that feeling, and haven’t been able to want anything else more on the market since, and doesn’t that fit the description of best friendships?

In terms of directly answering your first question, it seems like the process we go through in discovering new friends is similar online, or in day-to-day experiences, but (a copy from the response that I made to her reply, while writing this): “Your welcome!! 🙂 Totally. I’ve always felt that testing someones nature with a gift is a beautiful way to get to know them better.

Honest admiration, combined with emulation in an action…. How does it feel to have me posting off your article in enthusiasm, because I admired it?…. I analyzed this because I fail all the time, and I love people.

Building your own sense of confidence is the best attraction, and if they don’t like the oddity of your approach….. They just may not be, your kind of fun. I like to poke fun at other people not liking my approaches, because they’re so weird that sometimes people think I’m trying to sell them something, and at other times they get scared.

I have developed a rule for these situations on the street: “Grins or giggles”: if they give me a grin, i go for the giggle, if I get the giggle, i go for the laugh, if i get skepticism, i try for the grin again, if I get suspicion or fearful body language, i move on.

good luck. it sucks, but it’s also fun as it’s harder in person…and easier because it’s more fun. I’m using the pick up line as my title, and i will let you know what happens at the store. :).”

I trust in the goodness of people, hoping they’ll be like my jaded perspective of community, which is met with my disappointment, time and again. I just spent the last year of my life feeling like I’d been betrayed by people who I’d become close friends with, and that experience has made me question my capacity for new friendships at all.

Here’s a quote that was given to me by a new friend and fellow writer Brandy, that I attempted to convince to blog, by sharing my experiences of empowerment with her, as she described her daily approach to loving the art in writing books, in a bar, while I was struggling to feel like I could love another woman. As she was lacking the confidence I aspire to, I’ll send her this as a link via email, because this community of volunteers gives it to me.  Thanks for your friendship Brandy, well met.   sherris 042

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A Grade A Grey Day

For many grey days have been grade A.  Like the man pumping my gas yesterday did say, “they don’t make very much money, their some kinda non-profit, I think they break even.”  I responded with a hearty laugh, “that’s all you ever really have anyways right?  breaking even?”  He looked at me with a startled, wary eye.  Didn’t know that I was talking about the apple pie I wish to see in the sky.

Here is a dream come true.  Broke?  Work for an hour and they’ll give you a meal in trade.  Short on change?  The suggested donations are flexible to your pocket book.  Not a single cent, and no energy to give?  Coffee and a pastry are free if need be, and probably by the time you finish consuming them, you’ll feel energized enough to help.  Wifi?  Yes, good and free.

Lot’s of rules though.  Don’t get silly and think they don’t have structure.  Every question I asked, was sent up the ladder on the chain of command.  I just wanted to take some pictures, and fix the sink.  Eat a bagel and finish my drink.  I love this place:

Started the day out with four dollars.  Then a man gave me seventy five for driving to meet him, and I gave most of it to the man who operated the gas pump.  With little left, I found this place across the street.  Where debt and profit meet.  Zero is not a number.  That’s like saying a star is a number.  Nope.  Zero represents everything.  One of the most powerful symbols we have.  We wear it on our finger to represent loyalty.  We join in them so everybody gets a back rub…at the same time.  The cycle of life.  Recycling.  Reclaiming.  Round.  Whole.  Unified.  Complete.  Forever.  Infinity.  Together.  Zero.  Grade A Grey Days