“It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs–and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of the anxiety.”
— George Orwell
I’m back in Portland. Saw Obama speak in Connecticut during my sister’s commencement. I’m well and gradumudacated, as they say. My closest girlfriends have left and scattered, Emily and Cara in Southern California and Laura in Tanzania.
I feel incredibly, woefully unprepared, in terms of doing “grown-up things” such as figuring out health insurance (my mother’s biggest fear). There are some days where I feel so smart and mature–like the way I dealt with my dad’s relatives in Connecticut (“you were very chatty,” he complimented me afterwards), or the way I chatted and made friends with the girl sitting next to me on the flight back to PDX from Dallas (the first time I got someone’s number who I met on a plane!). Since getting back to Portland, though, I’ve felt slow and funky, as though I’ve had to move my limbs through thick molasses. I think a lot of that has to do with being sick: I was trapped in the Hartford airport for 12 straight hours, from 6am to 6pm, due to weather problems in Dallas–airplanes and airports are Petri dishes for diseases. I also think a lot of it is just plain sadness that Emily and Laura, my closest friends, have left, and there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding when exactly we’re going to see each other again–there’s no convenient “next semester!” to look forward to. As Laura said when we were saying goodbye in her car, “I think my strategy is basically just denial.” Sounds good to me.
So what have I been up to since I came back? I organized the books in my room alphabetically. Corey and I embarked on an epic, furious cleaning frenzy, which involved shaking out the carpets, sweeping and five loads of laundry. We saw the Starlight Parade last night in downtown Portland and went to the amusement park and watched the fireworks the night before last. We also saw “Indiana Jones” in the movie theatre, the first film in the series I’ve officially watched from beginning to end. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I was also sickened by the price of the ticket–$9, even after I lied about still being a student! We hung around afterwards with the intention to sneak into another, but everything else playing there looked like such crap that we lost the will and energy to lead a life of crime and instead listlessly slunk away.
In terms of work stuff, from June 13th-20th I’m working as a day leader for the Portland Plunge, which is run by an organization called JOIN. The Plunge is an eight-day long immersion into homelessness and urban poverty, started in the 80’s by a group of youth ministers in the Archdiocese of Portland. It’s basically what I was doing last summer in Tijuana, except in PDX, and the focus is on urban homelessness as opposed to immigration. The Los Embajadores experience is based on the Plunge. Anyway, I have to get on submitting questions and materials for journal entries and for organizing prayers/reflections. I wish I’d been a little more well-organized and prompt about getting that done, but I’m going to take a deep breath, give myself a break for being sick, and just let it go rather than beat myself up about it!
I want to pull out of this funk and finish reading “Man’s Search for Meaning” and “Down and Out in Paris and London”! Being 95% recuperated from this cold will help a lot with mental sharpness and emotional enthusiasm, I think, because it means I can start exercising again. I went for a long night bike ride after coming back from Eira’s tonight. I went to see the house I used to live in junior year, which made me feel unexpectedly weird and more Bruce Springsteenyist than I expected. I am full of self-analysis and justification for the syrupy state of my brain, I guess.