Venture Cafe, 1 (2018-10-19)
I've been helping out at Venture Cafe for about two months now. It's pretty easy work: help people check in and get registered, and then help serve drinks at the bar. In two months I've helped maybe six or seven times. I'ts nnot all that much—and it's easy to compare "much" because the printed name tags have your name and the number of times you've attended—but today I noticed something different. Once you go often enough, you recognize the other people there—the staff, the volunteers, the regular attendees. Today, though, I noticed that other people recognized me—the staff, the volunteers, the regular attendees.
I know it's obvious—it takes time. You see people, they see you, the connections get stronger, the memories set in a little deeper. Obviously, obviously. But as time drifts on by, I feel the pull simultaneously towards patience and impatiences with regards to connections. On the one hand, there's the running-out-of-time feeling that biases behavior towards impatience. If I don't get this done now I'll never have time to get it done. (That's a sentence that felt so much more urgent in my head, but now that I've typed it, I can't help but think: so what? Don't have enough time to get it done? Maybe that's the best news there is—let it go.) On the other hand, there's the I've-seen-this-movie-before feeling that biases behavior towards moving deliberately, that there is an other side of what you're going through—if you believe in it.
Outside of home, it feels good to be connected to the area. In DC, it was the people I knew; in Massachusetts, it was that plus 826 Boston; in LA, it was the people at work. Some things had the force of a movement and some were late night mistakes and some were pickup basketball, but they all felt like foundations—like things you could build something on. It's good to feel that again.
I'm a July cornfield far as you can see. I'm a July cornfield far as you can see. And if you real careful, you can walk on top of me. (Ah, you got to believe though. Now first you get your one foot up there, and then you gotta get your other foot up there. Easy now...oops, you didn't believe.)
—Greg Brown, "Out in the Country", The Iowa Waltz (1981)