html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Los Osos needs me!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Los Osos needs me!

So I talk all the time about contributing and giving back to your community and organizing things. I believe in all those things, but I am not living up to my ideals. I am not sure what benefit the city of Sacramento gets from my presence here and I don’t know that I have ever given of myself outside my comfort range. The obvious way that Sacramento benefits from my existence is the Ultimate league. Believe me, I am fiercely proud of that. It took work, and we did it and all sorts of positive things have come from league. There are many new friends and some new couples, and we have helped each other through hard times, and created a lot of fun. But it has not escaped my notice that I have given hundreds of hours of my time, the great bulk of my charitable giving in the past few years, so that rich white people could have an additional recreational opportunity.

Now I don’t even want to do that anymore. What I would really like is for a man to come along, so I can be blissfully captivated by our romance for the next couple years, and then have kids to take all our energy for the next ten until I can have two thoughts in order again. I’m finding that I can’t count on that, however, and I would like to be productive in the meantime.

Right now I’m real interested in the stories of people who had an effect. Téofilo wrote about one such woman today. My dad knows the guy at the FAA who decided that people shouldn’t smoke on planes. He just decided, and then spent twenty years making it happen. I know people who think that Martha Davis is the woman who saved Mono Lake. I believe that one person can institute profound change, and also that it requires an all-consuming zeal I’m not feeling right now, and also that it takes about twenty years.

I also wonder about working to type. I mean, what I know about myself is that I’m good at sports leagues. What have I never done? Worked with people unlike me. Poor people, for example. Or people with different priorities, like religion. I avoid national politics as too remote to get any good out of my efforts. I’m scared of personal involvement, like visiting the Children’s Home, as too emotionally draining. I’m sortof casting about right now, looking for a cause, something with some leverage so my efforts would get larger results, something where my pride can trace my influence, and something I believe needs doing. But should that cause be in my strengths, ‘cause then I’m likely to do it? Should it address my weaknesses head on, so I’m not doing more advocating for people who are already fortunate?

I know this process, where I’m done with an activity and dormant for a while before the next hits. I watch and gather information and think quietly for months or a year. Something will slowly start to seem more interesting than all the other things, until it is the only interesting thing (besides my real life). Then the next burst of activity isn’t even work. It’ll be a while, though, before I know where this iteration will take me.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about something that helps you meet lots of single men? Say something in the Bay Area?

3:40 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I was thinking of teaching blind refugee orphans to read or something, but you're totally right, that's never gonna help me meet men.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would say that kids take more than ten years. That aside, why aren't the blind refugee orphans a good place to start and maybe also a good way to meet men?
Tyler

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because all the men are out doing cool things, like rock climbing, and skiing.

Justin

5:06 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I think kids take more years, but as my baby sister and brother get into their early double digits, they need less constant attention and can be useful around the house.

Because the social work type do-gooderism is predominately done by women.

Bike activism is probably a good place to meet men. Many of my favorite men have been all fired up over bikes at some point in the past decade.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous justus said...

Bike activism is probably a good place to meet men.

Yep, Critical Mass is well known for their efforts in uplifting poor black people from the ghettos.

Bike activism has always struck me as a great place to meet upper class white boys who think one of the world's great tragedies (which just happens to affect them personally) is the lack of bike lanes in neighborhoods where starter homes cost $500,000.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Don't sweat it. You don't need to make sure that you *directly* help everyone in need of help in the world. We are all cogs in a vast system that tries to give most people the opportunity to be happy-ish. Even if you don't directly help rich white people or poor brown bloggers, you still have a job doing whatever it is that you do with water. And hey, that's important to replenish our precious bodily fluids.

But then again, sweat it. There are millions all over the world suffering in horrific conditions. I recommend just going and seeing them because the mere physical validation of their existence changed my view of...something. You are not obligated to help these people, but if you can find an efficient way to do so you should.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan, I love the pragmatism in being romantically captivated for "the next couple of years" and then...

From the Leopard: marriage: one year of flames, thirty years of ashes :)

as a poor brown blogger: please send cheques to me at....

3:24 AM  
Anonymous Scheherazade said...

I find helping with Special Olympics quite wonderful. It's a little bit within my comfort zone -- sports -- and a little bit outside it -- intellectual disabilities. And it's captivatingly fun, delightful, sportsmanship and achievement. It gets me out of my own head, where I tend to measure myself against an extremely high standard of brains and skill (and always fall short). This reminds me that being human and reaching out to other people doesn't require intense intellectualism or perfect coordination. You just have to show up, and help.

Is it good for the world? I don't know. But it's good for me, by expanding my world, making me gentler and much more human. And the athletes seem to like it a lot, too.

(And you might meet some guys. In my sport, it's about half and half.)

4:13 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with combining giving something back to your community with your search for a mate -- your needs are important too, so I encourage you to narrow your consideration of volunteer opportunities to those that will help you meet single men.

Ask around and find out if there are any organizations that serve as a volunteer clearinghouse, matching volunteers with needs. They probably track at least some demographic information about their volunteers, so ask them where all the single men volunteer.

If you want to meet a gazillion single men, get involved with either your local Libertarian Party chapter or organizing science fiction conventions. :)

To meet less weird men, perhaps volunteer for activities that are more physically demanding -- maybe like building houses with Habitat for Humanity. You seem like you're probably fairly strong and fit for a woman so you should use that to volunteer for things that most women might feel uncomfortable volunteering for and thus most of your fellow volunteers are likely to be single men. Kids sports coaching is probably also another good place, but unfortunately I don't think that brings you into as much contact with other adult volunteers. Politics in general seems to attract more men than women, although not for all issues (hey single guys, want to meet lots of single women? volunteer for an abortion-rights organization... plus you can be pretty sure that the women who care enough about that issue to be activists probably put out or they wouldn't be so worried about abortion)

5:12 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

JMPP mentions several activities that appeal to more guys. Is it purely coincidental that none of the activities rank too highly on the giving-back scale? Habitat for Humanity is the one I would rate the highest, but even that program doesn't hit the neediest out there.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is it good for the world? I don't know. But it's good for me.."

I'm sorry, couldn't help laughing at that one. As long as *I* feel better that's okay! Jeez.

Habitat for humanity: do they build hosues in Iraq?

9:23 PM  
Anonymous justus said...

Habitat for humanity: do they build hosues in Iraq?

No. The Christian ministry does do work in Lebanon and Jordan, however.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard Lebanon could use some...

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Mike Jenkins said...

"Bike activism is probably a good place to meet men."

It always shocks bicycle cultists to hear this, but bicyclists are probably the most hated minority group in the city I live in. Dangerous, elitist, arrogant, self-righteous, as a group they act like members of a religious cult. They alone know the truth, so petty things like traffic rules and pedestrian safety don't apply to them. In 13 years of urban living with children, never once has one of my children nearly been hit by a car (cars are very predictable; they stay on the road and follow the rules.) Nearly being hit by a bike going 30 miles an hour, however is a regular occurence. And since the average cyclist is on a mission from God, the only reaction they give upon nearly killing my child (after riding the wrong way up the street and jumping on the sidewalk to avoid traffic) is to yell "keep your kids out of the way."

Lots of people, including bike activists, have had an effect. It is often hard to know, exactly, what that effect is or even whether it is net positive.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Good observation, Mike. My guess is that it is empirical fact that the more self-righteous you are, the more likely you are to ignore the basic responsibilties that make it safe to do what you are supporting.

That said, I follow the rules at traffic signals, but if I don't see any cars around, I will run a stop sign in my bike.

1:01 PM  

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