Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Damage Control

Today was my last day working at the library and I'm mostly packed for my bus trip to Marquette tonight. Our winter in April period seems to be ending just in time for a vacation, with sun and 60s in the ten day forecast.

Dealing with people has never been one of my strengths (writes the guy about to go spend five months dealing with people at Yellowstone). Part of the reason I enjoy being alone is that it's the way I feel most comfortable and relaxed, especially after spending time with people when the ensuing solitude brings a healing feeling. When I'm around people, I always feel like I'm acting. I don't mean that I'm lying about anything specific, only that I'm always partly guarded and that I feel I have to pretend that I'm more like other people than I really feel in order to survive in this civilization.

My parents taught me well that no one can really be trusted or depended on. I once told a woman I was very close to that I felt like a character in Christine Lavin's song Damaged Goods. She was visibly shocked that I thought of myself that way and asked if I'd been abused (as she had). But I guess the point of the song is that we're all damaged in varying degrees and looking for some hope and healing.

At the library, those of us who have these part time unscheduled jobs have a board with our names where we mark off which days we intend to work in the next week. I'd intended to erase my name earlier this week but it had already been done and replaced by an unhappy face.

Today people at the library had baked goods, and a card with many nice things to say, and even a stash of cash which totally surprised me. I can't remember a job departure which felt more real to me. One woman who grew up in Livingston usually works at another branch but was there for a meeting today and envied my going back to Montana, and others talked about their trips to Yellowstone. After reading the card alone, I interrupted the meeting for a moment to thank them. I also made a point of telling several of them that if I'm eaten by a bear, they're to tell the press that I wouldn't have wanted the bear killed. Also told them it wouldn't make any difference, but we have to try.

Heading off to visit the person and dog I'm able to feel the most like myself with, I'm bringing along a couple library books. One is recent, Great Tide Rising: Towards Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change by Kathleen Dean Moore. At first glance I thought this might be much too optimistic for me, too entrenched in denial and pushing false hope, but the preface is so heartbreakingly sad in its scene of two people at the shore and so detailed in its natural history description of what's happening there, that I'm going to give it a try in search of solace and camaraderie. And I happened to be shelving a couple Abbey books today, so picked up Jack Loeffler's tale of his Adventures with Ed to reread for camaraderie of a different sort before heading west.

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