When I was young I remember having a conversation with my dad wherein we were probably discussing my general social awkwardness and inability to function in school, and he said “do you think you’re going to grow up and be a hermit? That’s just not realistic.” I barely heard any words after that because at that moment I almost changed cellularly. The idea of isolating myself from the world around me was all I could think of since.
At least 45% of me it did.
Of course there’s the other 45% which is hungry for human contact, and the sights, sounds, and smells of what living among the great, unwashed masses provides. The remaining 10% is ever changing, and is most likely the margin that has kept me from flipping my lid and going AWOL.
More than anything, the reason I bring this up today is for therapeutic purposes, so bear with me and we’ll see if we might eventually find a point to it. So, recently I’ve been discussing the general state of the world with a smattering of people in an attempt at narrowing my aperture a bit. On any given day, the palate from which I’m working has every shade of environmental disaster, political upheaval, social collapse, overpopulation, disease, war, and so on. There is so much sadness, and grief, and frustration, and the machine (as I put it, and for lack of a better word) is constantly churning out new battles against the well-being of people, and because I spend the better part of my daily existence sifting through so much of this information, I reached a very literal saturation point on Friday, and came completely unhinged.
I can’t remember if I’d told this story here before, but last spring, with my bike on her roof rack, Demonika drove me into San Francisco with her. She was going to work, and I was going to an appointment I had downtown. It was a typical, kinda grey Bay Area morning, and we were on the freeway with like, a trillion other people. Once the clog momentarily broke, we were maintaining a blistering twenty or thirty miles and hour when I noticed against the jersey barrier between six lanes, ran a very scared little brown dog. I asked Demonika to pull over and I jumped out and gave chase. We were headed against traffic with him always maintaining about a twenty foot advantage on me. I walked along the busy freeway for a mile or so and finally reached the pup. Unfortunately, I was wearing bike shoes, and just as I was within three feet of snatching him up, I stepped on a tiny piece of broken glass which popped under my cleat, startling him, and making him begin to run again. Hundreds of cars passed by, the occupant’s faces pressed against the glass. A few people told me that there was a dog loose, just on the chance that perhaps that wasn’t the reason I was walking on the freeway at 7:30 in the morning.
Finally two Highway Patrol officers pulled up, positioning themselves between me and the dog, their guns drawn. I explained my reasoning for being out there, and they said they didn’t care, and forced me to abandon my pursuit. I asked if they would please go rescue him. They said they would, but once they accompanied me back to my car and sped off, it was clear that wasn’t their plan.
To an indescribable level, and to the core of my very being, I needed to rescue that dog. I still hang onto failing him and on a daily basis it breaks my heart. Once back inside the car, nothing mattered. Had I had my computer with me, I would have deleted all of my email addresses, pulled the plug on this site, and hit the road. I don’t know why I responded in such a manner, but I did and so it was.
While this here website might generally be revered by some, but ignored by most, to me it’s a vehicle with which I can reach a greater audience than I can, say, standing on my front porch. And with this vehicle, I choose to convey bits of information, or perspective that I hope will enlighten, or inspire, or entertain, and because I’m a believer in the butterfly effect, my singular hope is that if what I do personally doesn’t affect an immediate and positive change, then that ripple I created will affect someone who might affect someone who might affect someone, who perhaps will.
It’s all I have to cling to, because effecting change on a broad scale will never be something that I can do. I’m no Dr. King, or Nelson Mandela, but I can strive to be the best possible person I can be, and whether it’s through this site, or in a personal exchange with a random individual on the street, though most days it might be akin to emptying the ocean with a thimble, I have to hold onto the hope that in some form or fashion, it will make a difference.