Shaka. First, an update on the Digital Inclusion Survey: Thanks to everyone who has completed the survey. We are doing very well, comparatively speaking, with 56 responses so far. I know you all are busy with more important things, so I appreciate your time and effort. Reminder for those who haven’t completed it (and who by happenstance might actually be reading this blog), or who have completed the survey and have not completed the speed test, it will only take you a few minutes, so please help out.
When I started working at the Commission, I was met with a new dilemma: Where to park. I talked to a few people I know who had a more advanced knowledge of the downtown commute situation, and the going rate for parking downtown is around $65/month. That didn’t appeal to me much. My plan for the first week was to park on the street, on the edge of downtown, and walk (about 8 blocks). I enjoyed these walks, even on the days I was running late. This feeling might have been a result of decent weather, but nonetheless, it allowed me time to clear my head and breathe the open air. There is a great benefit to that. However, I continued to listen to others (who strongly cautioned me that walking this longer distance would be more difficult in poor weather and I would regret it); and thus landed a spot in one of the state parking garages at the lower $30/month rate. A number of Commission employees ride bikes to work, and this type of activity, refreshingly, is perfectly acceptable and encouraged here. As much as I would like to ride, it just isn’t practical with my kids and the fact that I live a bit far from downtown.
When I began to reflect on parking in the garage, I decided pretty quickly that I didn’t like it. In fact, I almost instantly hated it. Although it was closer (3 blocks instead of 8), the overall time that it took me was the same (about 12 minutes), when taking into account driving further into the depths of downtown, looping around to the garage, driving up the garage, etc. I decided that I would rather spend this time walking than sitting in the car. Not to mention, many times I forgot where the car was parked, and had to walk around the garage trying to find it.
Solution: Park on the street, enjoy the fresh air, and ride in on a scooter (the human powered one). Walk on bad weather days. On really bad weather days (e.g. the occasional blizzard), pay the $5 to park in the garage next to the commission. I rode my scooter for the first time last week, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I bought a Razor A6 Lux scooter, and park it in the office. If you are ever visiting the Commission and want to take it for a spin, stop in and borrow it. You are welcome to give it a try. Even if you don’t want to ride the scooter, come in anyway for a chat, either about the scooter, surveys, souls, or anything else that is on your mind. Scooter commute time: About 5 minutes. The reason I’m writing about this is for multifold reasons. For one, riding a scooter provides me with the opportunity to connect with nature, results in a relatively quick commute (if necessary–just kick more), and a return to an activity that is reminiscent of the fun most of us experienced when we were younger. Many of us don’t do these kinds of things anymore. It has taken me only a little time to get over what other people think about riding the scooter. I’ve gotten a few looks – but the point is that I’ve worked past worrying what others think (at least when it comes to riding my scooter). I’m hoping that the scooter will be a catalyst for this feeling in other parts of my life.
Recently, I discovered the author Thomas Moore (Dark Nights of the Soul). The circumstances that led to this discovery are multifaceted, complex, coincidental, personal, and painful. It seems to me that the realization and acceptance of Moore’s philosophy is providing me with a formidable alternative (or response) to my own dark struggles with nihilism, purpose, identity, and soul. To acknowledge this provides me with at least some sense of relief, although I’m sure this feeling will come and go, wax and wane over time. I’m beginning to see nihilism for what it is (and ultimately what Nietzsche saw it as): a means to an end rather than an end in itself. It’s refreshing to see it that way. It gives me newfound hope to draw that conclusion; hope of transforming from someone who has related to at least the spirit of the pessimism of the Rust Cohle character from HBO’s True Detective (“It means I’m bad at parties”) to someone who believes he can find a sense of contentedness from within himself and embrace (rather than be consumed by) what Moore calls the dark night. I suppose the scooter may be playing at least some role in this. I am working on another post related to Thomas Moore, the dark night, and how this may relate more to libraries and life, but for today, I will leave you with the following quote from Moore’s Introduction in the book Dark Nights of the Soul so that you might have a bit more depth of understanding what he is talking about and what’s on my mind (you might even want to check the book out from your local library):
“At one time or another, most people go through a period of sadness, trial, loss, frustration, or failure that is so disturbing and long-lasting that it can be called a dark night of the soul. If your main interest in life is health, you may quickly try to overcome the darkness. But if you are looking for meaning, character, and personal substance, you may discover that a dark night has many important gifts for you.”