Cafe Hitch-hike


Sleeper Team

Things continue to keep on truckin'. We are having a very wet late spring so far, and methinks my region will see plenty of rain. I was supposed to go snorkeling today, but I went with a rogue subgroup of our snorkeling group last week and had a swimmingly nice time.

I've been getting documentation for my lovely promotion, and everything I've added is real. Yeah, I did all of that planning. Yeah, quite a bit of that were from my own harebrained ideas. Yeah, I also put in all of that time, too! I was surprised to see that my projects went pretty far or started others like them. My career hasn't been dyno-supreme, but it's definitely not shabby.

I wrote Scott, the activist I worked with back in 2006 for a letter documenting my volunteering with him. He asked me to write the letter which he would sign, so I stated some facts like the task we did and what it accomplished. He then added some very kind things at the end of the letter:

...We are proud to call -- a friend of the project. Her efforts, especially in our early years, played a crucial role in our success today as our group approaches 20 years. Each volunteer plays a part, but those early volunteers allowed us to become who we are today.

In the email, he also said this:

While we were pretty popular with the punks and the anarchists, we really needed the librarians! Having people that weren't afraid to mingle with us was incredibly helpful in our ability to reach a broader community... We now have an interesting mix of folks who are dedicated to the project, coming from all walks of life.

I shrieked again and almost cried at my desk when I read it. It felt so good to see that something I bore fruit and kept going, and continued to help people. I almost feel crazy, but I was very touched and cried again later on. It was happiness, yes, but maybe it was me telling the insecure part of me, "look what you were able to do and how it kept going! Of course what you do matters, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time!"

The funny thing is I've told that to others, especially friends of mine with teens or young adults. I often tell them that their children do listen and what they say means a lot to them (well, developmental research backs me up on this). Let me say this to myself and resistant parts of me once in a while!

Yeah, I was quite the boundary-hopper while I lived in Gulf Bluff. I do remember working with the punks and anarchists, and they were very insightful and opened my mind to a lot of things (especially the kid who went hoboing 1,000 miles from there to Detroit, yes, he traveled by freight train and actually gave a presentation about how to do it). They were funny to look at, but they were refreshing! I didn't have to become one in order to talk to one! I didn't realize I also crossed the color line in a few things I did (eat lunch with Black co-workers, talk about having Black relatives, and attend some of the events they held). I was the first Catholic Latina that many people had met (people were actually surprised and perhaps disarmed). I hopped many cultural and geographical boundaries to live in Gulf Bluff anyhow, and I just did what I wanted or had to do.

Then, I continue to work on the research for my upcoming presentation at a national conference. Yesterday afternoon, I courted SPSS (social science data processing software) and had hot makeup sex with statistical concepts to make sure I properly applied them. The makeup statistical sex was so good that I was in my office for almost 8 hours on a Saturday, hahahha!!

As I started to see some initial findings from the number crunching, the tears came again. It wasn't out of sadness but surprise. Finishing the actual study and the report last year, I realized, was quite the professional labor of love. I got the idea through interactions I had with colleagues, did the legwork, and then finished it a hundred years later. Just about all of the people who inspired me to do the survey have either retired or moved on, so in short, finishing the survey was like closing that chapter of my life. I said 'goodbye' to those people, and I will eventually do the same with this project once I present and maybe write an article or 2 about it. Someone who did that type of research told me what I felt about wrapping this up wasn't strange at all, and I now see why.

In a way, I feel like those sleeper teams in tournaments when I was in sports. Sleeper teams were usually made of females who were sweet or cool; they didn't have the mindset or skillset as the powerhouse teams, but they had a good game and were fun to play against. Although all of the attention went to the top few teams, it wasn't unusual for a sleeper team to completely own a tournament. Every time those sleeper teams won, the girls ran towards each other in a circle, all smiling, and then would hug and collapse in laughter, tears, hugging, and even breathlessness. Yeah, I kind of feel a bit like that.

I don't want to ruin the vibe, but RIP Anthony Bourdain. I only watched a few of his shows, and a lot of people didn't like him because of his coarseness and indulgences, but I thought the idea of what he did on his show was absolutely amazing. In the past few years, I said my dream job would be his. When I read he took his own life, I felt so sad. I knew, just like with my cousin Roberto-Rosario, that Bourdain had his demons and struggles. You'd think someone has it all or is living the dream, but yet there's things that people hide from the world.

When I think of how my friends and family sometimes seem to avoid me when I'm having difficulty, I shake my head because I wonder if that's what makes people hide it. I then think about my sister whose depression has gotten worse these past few years (it was nature and nurture, but health problems really threw her over the line). I lost my patience with her once when I hissed to our other sister, "she keeps me on these weepy texts and conversations for at least an hour, but SHE REFUSES HELP! I've said and did everything I could, but this is getting so exhausting!" I think my sister sensed what I said or did.

It makes me think of a Christmas service I attended late last year, and the minister said he officiated the most funerals in 2017. What is it that is making so many people give up? We know more about these conditions, have more treatments, have more of everything, but-- why? I could wonder and keep wondering about the why's or how's, but all I can do is accept that we won't really ever know, and to try to be the best person I can be and give the best I can even while my own depression and anxiety beat my ass from time-to-time.

downwind | upstream