Monday, October 22, 2001


this weekend. you know you're really cool when you spend a friday night in the engineering library. riiiiiiiiiiiight. no but friday wasn't bad, i caught up with myself.
saturday was cool. i got up at 8:30 and did this thing called Into the Streets. basically, they sent a group of volunteers into the streets of lansing to do various community service projects. the project i worked on was rad - we went into this part of lansing (which i never gave credit to for being so cool) that was totally cool and had this cool funky vibe goin on called Old Town. it has these shops and galleries and stuff, it was cool cuz everything there had personality. it was almost like a downtown area but not quite. cooler even. so our project was to work with Old Town Mainstreet, which is a non-profit organization which is trying to revitalize and refresh this Old Town part of Lansing. so we cleaned up a corner of the block and part of a store front.
my job was to weed. sounds like a pain, doesn't it? i wasn't thrilled to be doing it, but i wasn't disappointed either. i was more like 'i'll do anything' but wasn't raising my hand like wild to weed. but once i got started, i realized how theraputic and symbolic weeding is. to effectively weed out a bad plant that has grown in an area, you can't just pluck off the leaf or snap the stem at the earth. you have to dig the bad part out from its root. sometimes it took little or no effort; i'd give a little pull and out of the earth came it's tiny and solitude stem. there were others, however, that were less easy. some required a little digging with a small shovel to loosen the soil around the weed. after a little manipulation, they were easy to free. there were a few that were even harder than that to release. these really bad weeds actually looked like a green leafy grass, and looked like it belonged. after prodding a little bit into the earth, however, i saw that its roots branched out quite far and quite deep. there were hundreds of small networked parts of this small weed underneath the ground, never to be seen had i not dug them up. once i pryed the entire weed out, it's unearthed part was more than five times bigger than the exposed part of the plant.
i said that this weeding was symbolic because trying to get rid of such a big weed is like trying to solve some major problem, whether it is terrorism, or domestic abuse, or poverty, or hate. you can't get rid of the exposed and spotlighted emblem that is associated with the problem. you can't get rid of osama, all men who beat women, give the unemployed work, lock away those with cold hearts. instead you have to get to the root of it all. examine why osama hates americans, why some men are prone to resorting to violence to show their aggression, how they cycle of poverty works and why, how hatred is passed on from parent to child. you gotta think long term when it comes to problems. and not all of these problems are as drastic as osama bin laden. sometimes you just have a problem with school, a friend, lonliness, whatever. but say you're having trouble with a class or something; having someone write your paper for you so you'll get a 4-point won't help you. it's that whole "give-someone-a-glass-of-milk-and-you'll-feed-him-for-a-day; teach-him-how-to-milk-a-cow-and-you'll-feed-him-forever" thing. it might be different, but you catch my drift. i think the root of all of this stems down to the whole golden rule. i promise i won't go all girl-scout on you, but seriously, just treat people decently. or better than decent. hell, be nice to people, even if you don't want to be friends with them, date them. i know people who still won't be friendly to someone they think is a dork because they don't want that person to think that they want them. i didn't think that existed anymore, but it does. and it shouldn't. i don't want to sound pessimistic, but if people still think that way, are they ever going to change? we are adults. WE ARE ADULTS. grow up already.
on the other hand, it was nice to be volunteering this weekend, and to hang out with people who aren't like that. so i did that into the streets thing saturday, then went to the hockey game (who-hoo we won 2-0 and mason had his 900th career win so that was cool) and crashed in my lovely bed.
tonight i voluteered at the ronald mcdonald house in lansing by sparrow hopsital. the ronald mcdonald house is one of the coolest things i've ever heard about. it's a non-profit organization that sets up a house near hospitals, and the families of children who are being treated in the hospital can stay there. mostly it's for when people live far away from the hospitals and stuff. the house was so nice; each family has their own room and bathroom, and then there's a community kitchen (sounds hokey, but let me tell you, it was nice as in brand new) and living area and what not. so we went there and made dinner for the families who were staying there. none of the families were physically there when we made it though, they were all over at the hospital, which is totally understandable. there was one family there very briefly, and i asked about her son, and she explained how he was drinking and driving, and basically got in such a bad car accident that he shouldn't be alive right now. hearing about that was just so sad. he's 16. just makes me realize how damn lucky i am. i'm still convinced i live in a shell. it's not until i seek out things to do such as volunteer at the ronald mcdonald house until i actually realize that people are struggling out there. hearing about it is one thing, but listening to someone is quite different. they seem like they're the same, but today i learned they're quite different.
i learned a lot this weekend; have absolutely no regrets. i like that.

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