I spent the morning cleaning up the mangroves. We get invited to these volunteer things every year, and part of my job is showing up. I dragged the new girl in the office along with me in part because she’s going through a rather brutal break-up, and she really needs to be out of her head and with people who like her at a time like this. Okay, so she was among people who don’t know her, but at least, I got her out of her head for a while. I’d solicited roughly 700 people from the offices in the area, and we got four. But, it’s a Saturday, and the weather’s beautiful. What are you gonna do?
Volunteering is something I really like doing. You’re among these people who just want to give back to the community. It’s a great way to network, too. I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve made this way. Everyone’s happy. Everyone is working together for the greater good. Well, the greater good and the t-shirt.
I try to scope out the people with hangovers at these things, because they’re usually the ones who are the most interesting. I spot a guy with dreadlocks tied up in a piece of leather string but decide he might be a little too granola, even for me. Everyone else is unusually cheerful and bright this morning, so I’m out of luck in the entertainment department for the event.
I spend the morning picking up Styrofoam and plastic bottle tops with my co-workers, and we compete to see who’s got the picture of the bigger bug or better junk in their bag. I take a walk on the dock with the little girl of one of my co-workers from the other site for a little while before we head over to the beach to pick up our t-shirts. I watch them eat hot dogs with the sea breeze coming in off the water before I head home for the day.
I talked with my best friend, Carrie, last night and she’d told me that I was different since I’d gotten back from California. In a good way, she’d meant.
“You’re more open,” was the gist of what she said.
I know what she’s saying, and I recognize it. But, in the months since I got back, I’m restless in a way I haven’t been in years. I know I’m different. Being open, though, means you’re vulnerable. I’m not sure if the trade-off is worth it.