In a nice house in Anchor Point on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. House has a beautiful view. Peaceful. Boring, but I can cope with that now; I just accept it.
I hitched here yesterday. It took me six rides from Anchorage. It usually takes between three and four hours to drive here from the city; it took me from about 7 am to about 2 pm. I was in touch with Anya all the way, sending her the photos of license plates of cars I got into and info on funny things that were happening.
On the trip I saw two grown moose, one with a calf. One of my drivers reminded me that all I have to do is be authentic and unpretentious.
I’ve been reading some light fiction lately, and here are two funny things I read:
1.) ~a dog supposedly commenting that all people do is exchange words or play with words or some such observation*, rather than actually doing things. (* Both Aspies and dogs think that most people talk too much.)
2.) ~in another dog’s voice book, the dog said that people were behaving as though they “expected to be restrained.” Ugh. Unfortunately, this is very true of most of us: we have been curbed of our natural tendencies. Many people are way too domesticated. We learn to obey commands.
My Native hosts in Talkeetna were so noticeably generous. I was just telling Kate (my current host) about this. She’s worked as a nurse/midwife with lots of Native people up here, and she says they are very generous. Anything that’s there, everyone is expected to just share and take what they want.
And Kate says you don’t knock before going into a house, you just go in (this is true even for White people). You do/say nothing at first. Then, you sit down and slowly, quietly begin joining into the group and whatever’s going on.
My current host, Kate, told me the Kenai Peninsula is all Whites, very few Natives. The house I’m staying in is packed full of stuff–way too much stuff for me–and so much food! Too much of everything.
I am leaving tomorrow. Despite the beautiful view here, I am ready to go. I love beauty, but I come to make contacts and just BE in a place, not to be a tourist and go see beaches and so forth.
Today, on my way into town, I took photos of women road construction workers here in Anchor Point. Posted them on Facebook. So many of my FB Friends live in places where women are not allowed to have jobs like this. They are also the countries where men are macho and openly have mistresses, while women must stay home and never be alone with another man. Ugly scenario.
Kate, awesome host and new friend, drove me to BEAUTIFUL Homer, Alaska today.
I may SEEM to some clueless people like a homeless, dependent, poor, helpless woman who needs constant aid from others. In TRUTH, as all my friends know, I am a very independent, free, rich (in life, in experiences, and in spiritual awareness), home-free (my home is the world), very active and help-full, self-advocating woman who understands that we are all both independent and inter-dependent (we are all one).
Kate: ignore those people who have very limited spiritual consciousness. Turn toward those people who are spiritually aware.
Hitching from Anchorage to Anchor Point a few days ago:
One guy (foreigner/tourist) stopped, but he wouldn’t let me take a picture of his license plate. I said thanks and bye. He then complained bitterly about Americans before driving off.
Another guy (old and weird) said, “Get in. Do you need some money? I’ll give you some money. Are you a Christian.” Me: “Bye bye.”
The WWOZ disc jockey yesterday, Rare, asked anyone listening from oil rigs in the Gulf to call in. I called in and told him I was up in Alaska and would be back in NOLA soon. He called me “Baby” twice (in that warm New Orleans way!), and then he told listeners that a woman had called from “way, way up there in Alaska.”
The Pushki are huge and beautiful now.
“The huge lush leaves of cow parsnip (pushki, Heracleum lanatum) are beginning to festoon Kenai Peninsula roadsides, especially south of Ninilchik and around Homer. In another few weeks the flat-topped heads of white flowers will be showing their faces, and unwary hikers and gardeners will be salving their rashes and blisters from too much pushki and sunshine.”
from the Peninsula Clarion (July 17, 2013)
The fireweed plants have been blooming for weeks in the Interior and even on the northern part of the Kenai Peninsula. But down here on the southern part of the Peninsula, they are just starting to bloom. This is because the growing season is much longer down here. The Homer area is called a “banana belt.” Fireweed and other plants can start blooming later. Further north, it will start getting cold again by mid-August.
Finally I’ve discovered how best to treat people sitting near me in a cafe or walking past me on the sidewalk or shopping at the market: ignore them. I used to try to reach out and greet as many people as possible. I have done this since high school. Now, it is revealed as not only unnecessary but dumb, boring and usually a huge waste of my time.
Ignoring people is so much better. And easier. And it had benefits: I don’t have to interact at all with most people (which is how I like it). If I meet people and like them or if I am staying with a CS host, I have to interact. If I decide I can’t stand these people, I have to fake it until I can get away. Awful!
But Kate (recent host in Anchor Point) let me know in very definite way that it’s OK–in fact it’s wise–to just ignore people when I feel that it’s not going to be beneficial TO EITHER OF US.
I am older now. I know many things I didn’t know before. One of those things is that I have met so many people in my life, and many of those people were not people I want to be friends with. Facebook “Friends”– OK. Real friends– NO. So I am no longer looking at everyone as a potential friend (though actually they are all potential friends); I know most of them are not going to become my friends. We are all just travelling through this world at the same time; in that way we are all one.
Ah, the relief! Ignoring those people at the next table whose conversation bores me (even though I can hardly hear it). Ignoring the pompous overtones coming from some guys in the park (is it my lowered self-esteem or are they really arrogant, vain, pompous asses?). Ignoring those library patrons sitting nearby who emit negative energy (or that’s how it feels to me). Ignoring all strange, weird folks (even if they’re not strange or weird to anyone else) instead of trying to prove myself to them and get their acknowledgement and approval is a huge victory for me. I guess I have been humbling myself too much: I’ve been seeing myself both as willing to “help” these poor, lost souls and as needing their blessing. Gross!
The truth is that, like Sherlock Holmes (in the new BBC interpretation), I don’t really care about most people. I hope they are happy, well-fed, healthy, and have what they need; I wish them well. But, as individuals, I feel they can fend for themselves. If someone straight out asks me for help (and if I can see or understand their needs), I will consider trying to help them… on this basis: a.) can I actually help them? and b.) how much skin it would be off my nose?
I am not going to hurt myself to help someone else. That would be flat out illogical and irrational.
no skin off my back
-The original form of this phrase was no skin off my nose, dating back to the early 20th century, but other body parts have been used as well (e.g. elbow, knee, ear.) It essentially means ‘no concern to me, not my business, doesn’t hurt me at all.’ There is not much information about why back became more popular than other parts, though one theory holds that it relates to being whipped, a well-known (if not commonly practiced) form of punishment in English-speaking countries. The link would be that, when one is in a situation that this phrase could describe, it is not causing you any harm and there is no fear of any punishment to oneself.
We are all both independent and inter-dependent. When someone goes too far to one side or the other, they reek. If too independent, they look self-centered, egotistical, and ugly. If too interdependent, they look too needy, grovelling, and ugly. Seek BALANCE.
The key though is just fucking ignoring people. Why did I ever want to NOT ignore people? Why did I want to interact with fucking everyone? These are some of those truly insane things we do when we are young (or learn to do when we are young and just keep on doing over and over and over and over). Finally, if we are lucky, we wake up and say, “Why the fuck am I doing that? I hate doing it and I don’t have to do it.” Then, you are released from it forever.
I think that for many, many years I was under the impression that I had a social–and moral or ethical— obligation to interact in a polite, friendly, positive way with people. And I think I believed that if I didn’t follow this social imperative, I was being rude (that hated word).
Could this perspective have come from the immigrant’s dual mentality of 1.) supporting the immigrant “kin”-group (in our case: Germans), and 2.) presenting oneself in the best possible way (in order to facilitate quick and easy assimilation into the dominant group [in our case: Americans])? Did my parents drum this puppet-like response into me out of fear, without thinking about it? Was the social pressure from the people (Americans) who had just defeated their people (Germans–though Mom was born in the US and definitely identified herself as an American) in a World War (in consecutive World Wars actually) that strong and that threatening? Was it just a matter of survival?
I hereby release myself from the need to interact with everyone I possibly can interact with. There. Done. Finished. Forever.
I always thought the direction I was going in was toward MORE interactions, and MORE relaxed interactions, with more strangers. Not so, as it turns out.
I want to add, unnecessarily I am sure (because it really doesn’t matter), that ignoring people doesn’t mean I dislike them. I may dislike them if I got to know them; I may not. Ignoring them means that I am indifferent to them based on two facts: I don’t have to interact with them (so why have any opinion about them?), and I have received some kind of negative input* from them (which makes me not want to interact with them). (*It could be anything, any little thing: clothes, posture, voice tone, psychic impression… If I’m focusing on something [which I usually am], I often won’t tolerate anything that clashes with what I’m doing, anything that’s not beautiful and pleasant is alien and unwanted baggage at those moments.)
I simply don’t want to be interacting with people all the time. I definitely need my down time and my alone time. New people are the hardest: getting to know someone and establish baselines takes WORK. With strangers, it’s worse because I am expected to make inane conversation about nothing and engage in a barrage of lots of basically meaningless words. Ah, the horror!
baseline (medicine), information found at the beginning of a study
baseline (pharmacology), a person’s state of mind or being, in the absence of drugs~from Wikipedia
I am having lots more interactions with people these days, but these interactions are mostly with Couchsurfers (from the website). I am meeting lots and lots of them and getting along very well with them. They like me, and I like them (generally). But casual encounters–NO. Most emphatically NO.
Couchsurfers and me often (not always) have a lot of the same attitudes and similar perspectives on life. Perhaps it’s an unusual (or minority) perspective.
Other people (most of whom would never, ever be on the Couchsurfing site) are not people I want to have anything to do with. Some of these people are neo-Nazis. I stay as far away from these people as possible. I am sort of radically liberal, and we do NOT get along.
Everything I’ve said here is the truth, and I will swear to it. It’s not good or bad–it’s who I am. I am not going to strive to be “nice.” It’s boring and ugly; it’s a horrible thing to be: nice. I guess finally I like myself just the way I am.