Thursday, July 24, 2008

lost coffee shops, play pumps, and stories

There were all sorts of funny little things that happened to me yesterday. To start with, I was going to go meet someone to talk and I got lost. Well, I wasn't lost, the coffee shop -Ebenezer's- where we were supposed to meet was lost. So, the story is funny because I arrive at Union Station about 20 minutes early (enough time to find it I thought!). When I got there I realized that in the time and distraction of getting there I had completely forgotten the address. I knew it was close but, I had no idea in which direction. I started asking people and I got several strange looks and no help.

I thought I'd call someone I knew who might be able to look it up on the internet. At that moment I remembered that there are "information" phone numbers that you can call. I think Scudder told me about this. Of course, I couldn't remember the number. I tried a number that I had stuck in my memory. It turned out that I called the DC mayor's office! It was funny. I told the guy that answered the phone that I was looking for directions but, that if they didn't do that it was ok. I guess I sounded kind of desperate because he said, "Maybe the people at transportation can help you." Transportation? It was funny, so this guy at transportation answered the phone and I told him that since they didn't really take calls like that I could hang up, it was fine. But, he said that he'd try to help me. We spent ten or fifteen minutes on the phone and he never understood or never figured out how to spell Ebenezer's or something. Finally, I told him that I'd be fine and hung up. It was very kind of him to try to help me.

Sitting on the steps of this old church I realized that all my friends on the West Coast were still sleeping and most of my friends in DC would be at work. So, I finally called Lauren and she saved the day. It was almost an hour late when I walked in. How embarrassing! But, it was a good conversation and worth all the trouble of finding it and wandering around for an hour.

In the evening, Nathan and I went to Kira's house. It was a good refreshing time with these new but still precious friends that we've made in the city. In answering the question "have you found a job?" I found myself talking about this place that recently said that they were looking for an Assistant of sorts called PlayPumps International. I heard about PlayPumps last year and I thought it was a great idea but, I guess the way I described it last night made it sound slightly ridiculous or something. Anyway, it lead to an interesting set of ideas involving pixi-sticks to solve poverty in Africa. It was so silly but laughing really hard can be good for you. Anyway, PlayPumps is really cool and it would be fun to work there! This is their mission:
PlayPumps International’s mission is help improve the lives of children and their families by providing easy access to clean drinking water, enhancing public health, and offering play equipment to millions across Africa.
Anyway, to top it off. Yesterday, I listened to the latest edition of This American Life. I love that show. I love radio. I love sound, music, voices, silent pauses that mean so many things, and just stories. I love them.

This week was kind of a depressing theme "Stories of people haunted by guilt over their role in others' deaths, even when everyone agrees they're blameless." It's fascinating though, the guilt that we often carry with us. Ira said something that I thought was really interesting. Talking about people who hit people with their car, he said that those people who were actually at fault were less likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder than those who were innocent. The reason, he said, is that those who were at fault (sleeping at the wheel or drinking too much alcohol or something) knew how to avoid it in the future but those who were doing everything right and still had an accident (someone swerved in front of them or something) knew that there wasn't anything they could have done to avoid it and there is something slightly more terrifying about that. I could say more about that but, this post is way too long already.

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke