I am visualizing (while “meditating”) that I am releasing my thoughts from all parts of my body (not just my brain). It’s a fun concept, very relaxing, and, when used in public, opens me up to other people. Since I know how to redirect/rebuff UNwanted attention, I love this new openness because, otherwise, I naturally (or probably unnaturally) close up to people.
When did I learn this weird behavior? Is it a result of early rejection as an Aspie? Being a social outcast–German family–when I was growing up? Adoptee insecurity? What?
At Fred Meyers in Fairbanks West, trying to download some songs onto my iPod, but they’ve made the free WiFi so slow here that I can’t do it.
I’m preparing to walk over to my next hosts’ house: Brenna and David. I’m a little nervous because they seem like mainstreamers (–they may be interesting and probably nice folks, but very different socially than me and my Gypsy crowd). (*See note below.)
I am observing the mostly straight-haired, white, sedentary crowd while listening and bopping to my iPod music. My hair is wild and “bushy” (i.e., glorious).
(Over the next few days, I went into Fred Meyers–now one of the Kroger empire’s stores–with my iPod on and sang out loud to the songs–not real loud, but loud enough that people looked at me. I didn’t look at them, I just shopped.)
*As usual, I was wrong about these wonderful people, Brenna and David. They live in a funky, little, “dry” (no running water) cabin and have seven dogs (six of whom are sled dogs and a cat, Simon). These are active, busy, outdoorsy folks work at regular jobs and still have time to take care of their animals and do scads of other things.
Brenna and David are very loosey goosey (relaxed) and friendly as hell. Their food is my food (they said). They have an outhouse (sweeeeet, except when the guy from the cabin up front is home and drunk and using the outhouse). Within fifteen minutes of being here, I had a water jug (“honey bucket”) for my nighttime pee fest —that’s how easy they are to talk to.
I think most/many Caucasians here in Fairbanks (and all of Alaska that I’ve seen on this and my previous visit to Anchorage and Palmer a few years ago) are very conservative. Here’s what’s NOT part of their everyday (and/or public) culture: walking, singing in public, lightness, humor, friendliness (it’s the kind of friendliness where you have to talk to someone first and then they are friendly). People here live a hard life (with the deep cold), and it’s reflected in their stony faces and serious demeanor.
This afternoon I walked along uncrowded streets (remember: no one walks here; mostly trees on both sides) to get over to the Fred Meyers store. I had on my iPod and was singing at the top of my lungs. One old man smiled at me; a woman in a car turned her face away so she wasn’t looking at the mad, old lady, singing, of all things!
Unconventional behavior completely throws many of the folks I’ve encountered on the street in Alaska. One man in a car glared at me when I was taking my time crossing the street (I had the right of way) as he was turning the corner; he was visibly peeved that I was taking my time (and that I was listening to my iPod, I think).
Alaska is a good state for curmudgeons who don’t like any social change– iPods and other new gadgets make them angry. These are the people who cling to the past, and they exist in every culture and every historical period. They love to complain.
No one up here has given up smoking in bars. They consider this wild and practically revolutionary behavior. It’s one of their statements of independence and rebellion against the government. These Caucasians (who ARE the government up here) are a bunch of misanthropes who imagine themselves to be real frontier types: rough, tough, and superior people. It’s an absolute crock of shit.
Most of the people I have met up here (the Couchsurfers) are not at all like that. They are the liberals, the artists and musicians, the inventors and creative types, the Travellers and tourists (yeah, tourists can be OK). But I know that they are a minority up here in Alaska. The Caucasians, I was told, dominate (are the majority) “wherever there are roads” in Alaska. In the Bush (no roads), the Native People and Inuit dominate.
I am actually doing yoga in the late afternoon (before dinner) in whomever’s home I’m in.
Brenna and David are divinely harmonious folks. Their home and yard are busy centers of typically Alaskan life. Excellent energy. Brenna is an adoptee from Korea. She was reunited with her birth-mom a few years ago.
It has gotten very pleasantly warm. Even the other day, when the temp was in the low 80s, Alaskans think it’s unbearably hot. Today the temp is in the low 90s. I like it. Love it, in fact.
The people who really love it up here enjoy, and even prefer, winter. Brenna is one of these people. She and David are mushers; they hunt (David can butcher the meat), fish, and ski (including being pulled by a dog while on skis:); they have two active bee hives and get honey from them.
God only knows what other stuff David and Brenna do: garden? can and freeze food for winter… (I think they said they do that). write novels? make and play musical instruments? produce movies? carve totem poles? run marathons? international spies? publish a magazine? They’re a busy, happy couple who met over a frisbee on their first day of college in Texas: Brenna’s a veterinary assistant, and David is a youth counselor at the local Presbyterian church.