Living with 40 people you don’t know is a crash course in people skills

Originally posted on October 22, 2011:

As nice as Lee Park is after dark, I am home for a little while to sleep in a bed and snuggle with Pearl and I would just like to say that hot showers are FANTASTIC. Never underestimate them! I feel like this entire week is almost completely devoid of anything resembling the former 25 years of my life. I find myself doing and saying things that I didn’t ever think I could or would. I don’t think I entirely dislike this incarnation of me though. It is braver me, and better at faking confidence (and competence). I’ve learned a lot of useful things too. Like the two most important camp rules when dealing with large groups of people who you don’t have much in common with?

1. Don’t be a jerk.
2. Don’t be so overly sensitive that you constantly assume everyone else is being a jerk.

A third rule that one always has to keep in mind also: No matter what you are doing or how you are doing it, someone will think you are doing it wrong and tell you so. Don’t take it personally.

I think the most frightening thing happening a lot this week is people asking me things and then actually listening to my answers and valuing my opinion. It scares the shit out of me. I’ve gotten through most of life safe in the belief that nothing I do or say matters so if I screw it up, no big deal. Now I’m wandering into dangerous territory where people keep telling me I’m important somehow. What if I’m wrong about something and it actually makes a difference to someone besides me? For now I think I’m just going to keep pretending no one cares about me or notices me so I can not freak out or worry about accidentally upsetting someone who doesn’t know that they shouldn’t take me seriously.

The thing that has been the hardest is occasionally realizing how alien and new this is and how as much as I love the people I’ve gotten to know lately a lot of my friends are back in “the real world” and I miss seeing them and talking to them as much as I used to. I am trying very hard to not get completely consumed by this strange new dimension I seem to have fallen into so amazingly quickly (it already feels like I’ve ALWAYS invited strangers to have a seat in our outdoor living room while I make them coffee over a camp stove and try and politely feel out if they are homeless and needing to spend the night or just visiting). I don’t want to look up at some point and find I drifted apart from my friends while I was away chasing rainbows.

I am more mentally and physically exhausted than I have been in a long time, but I also am much more satisfied at the end of the day and much more interested in getting up the next day so I can’t really complain TOO much.


I am prone to both violently rejecting people taking me seriously, and insisting that I have serious things to talk about. I also enjoy silly hats, puppets, and protesting the evils of capitalism while drinking massive amounts of fair trade coffee.

A guest blogger position you say? PERFECT!