On One Hand

November 3, 2007

Daylight Savings

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:19 pm

I dreamed of falling in love with a desperate alcoholic, writing song lyrics across each others’ naked bodies by candlelight at 4 a.m. I dreamed of being invited into the back room at the kegger where the cool kids hit cocaine off of a glossy paperback Bible. I dreamed of bragging, dude, I was so fucked up last night, taking a piss behind a tree in the park and falling headlong through the bushes before the guy who would break my heart helped me stuble home.

Not long ago I beleived I’d be spending the entire decade of my 20s as a tortured artist, nursing scars, finding myself lost and lovesick in the arms of someone who only half felt like a partner, puffing cigarettes in dark alleys of New York, Seattle, London, Santa Fe, Chicago…

Now I am 22, and lead the youth group in a Unitarian church. For tomorrow morning’s activity, I bought a bag of 100 daffodill bulbs the kids and I will plant in the church yard. Daffodills. Holy shit.

My weekday routine looks something like this: wake up at nine thirty, grab something to eat, and jog to the gym. An hour later, I’m back home mixing a protein shake and then taking a shower. I water my houseplants, inspect and then rotate them so both sides get some sun. I cook something with tofu and rice and walk to the library where I’ll spend the biggest chunk of my day. I think about the activity I’m planning for the middle school group at Boulder Valley UU fellowship. I go to class, walk home and cook dinner. I call my parents, who I talk to almost every day. I run errands. I call a friend. If I don’t have any more homework, we go to a bar, I buy one drink and then we come home. Otherwise I’m thinking about an article I need to write for Boulder Magazine. I check my email. I watch TV. I grab a book and read for a while before I go to bed.

Without any particular effort, I became so fucking wholesome. And I don’t doubt that this is exactly how I’m supposed to be. I was born this way, loving plants and being a vegetarian health nut who judges each food based on glycemic index and flavanoids. I was born to work in a church, I can’t imagine any organization that shares my work ethic more than a service-based small community. I just didn’t think I’d get to this place so quickly.

When I was a kid I had my hands dirty every day, planting seeds, digging for worms, catching crickets, climbing trees. It took a few heartbreaks to learn that it’s the thing that feeds me. I’ve said many times that I think that human beings are fulfilled by taking care of something. I’d been taking care of hopeless causes for years, and I came to realize that I needed something I could actually see some change in. I got some plants. It started with pineapple tops, avocado seeds and then shamrocks I dug up from the yard. Tomatoes and zuchinnis, zinias, marigolds, ginger roots, spider plants, wandering jews, pumpkins, african violets and aloe. I spend the first hours of each day just looking at the plants in the window, caring for them. The next time I fell in love with a human, it was the first time I thought someone really saw where my heart was. It was the first time someone’s compliments actually felt complimentary. It didn’t last, but it was the first time I knew such things were real.

After all that I got an email that a church was looking for someone to work with the youth. I never made a choice to apply. I was sending my resume everywhere, so I sent one to the church too. I didn’t think I’d get the job. Then I went in for an interview and they told me I got it. I met the kids and I liked them a lot. It was what came to me. There was never a choice; saying yes was only second nature; I was on a path, and that’s where the path took me.

So much for finding the desperate alcoholic. He was always temporary. I feel like I’m still so young, but already looking to figure out the rest of my life. My period of sewing wild oats lasted three years, and the oat fields, always small and tame, have succumbed to the onslaught of tomatoes and pumpkin vines, dasies and sunflowers, and under the upright oak tree in the middle is a heaping growth of bleeding hearts, the shady the trail of stepping-stones marked by creeping impatients and begonias.


  1. Personally, I think you’re an inspiration!

    Comment by jennafern — November 4, 2007 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

  2. The other night I confused a Chinese food delivery driver with you. I saw him walking away from my house when I was getting home and in the dark he looked kind of like you. I asked him how he was doing and what he was doing over at our place and I think I really confused the poor guy! He said something like “Ummmmm, I’m just delivering food…?” It was funny after it stopped being awkward.

    Comment by callmeweirdbut — November 4, 2007 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

  3. That’s great, thanks.

    Comment by ononehand — November 13, 2007 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

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