Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Indiana Jones, Makin Bones

Do not fear. The Chronicles will continue.

A few things have been distracting me since posting Part 4. Foremostly, I visited Indiana University around the time when March became April, and it was nice! I got the vibe that Indiana knows who it is, knows it's identity, isn't trying to appear more macho than it really is. It's got pretty limestone buildings (the state of Indiana is known for it's limestone), plenty of trees and blossoms (the town is called Bloomington), and a hip city center with a melange of international cuisine ranging from Tibetan to Ethiopian. Otherwise, it's a midwest college town with 35,000 fun-loving drunken undergrads. I do not plan to partake in the boozing, but I do think spectating the boozing could prove to be a good source of entertainment. Indiana is a Big Ten school and supposedly has a thriving basketball program. I mean, Indiana is the state that produced Larry Bird and inspired the great movie "Hoosiers." The famous Indy 500 race takes place not too far north in Indianapolis, and Bloomington holds it's own "Little 500" bike race about which a movie was made, titled "Breaking Away." Anyway, the people I met within the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) all seemed genuine and good-willed. I did not get a sense of intense competition but rather a sense of camaraderie. Many are alumni from Teach for America, AmeriCorps, or the Peace Corps, which might say a little about the type of students the program attracts. Last week, I mailed my enrollment deposit and committed to the two-year Environmental Science Master's program. I believe it'll be a good fit for me, and I'll be moving to Indiana in August.

Meantime, I need a summer job. No one hires you unless you have experience, and you can't have experience unless you've been hired before. Thus I fear my only options fall under the umbrella of something called "general labor." Yeah, I'll either be painting houses, doing construction, or landscaping yards. Either that or lifting, opening, stocking boxes. I look forward to getting sweaty, messy, sore, and rich.

I'll confess that the reason work seems attractive now is that I haven't done it for a while. If all I did was work, it would surely inflict some violence on my soul. That very concept of working and what it does to people has a certain draw to it. The late great man named Studs Terkel conducted a number of revealing interviews about what people do all day and how they feel about what they do. Earning some daily bread, seeking some daily meaning. The compilation is titled "WORKING," and it is fascinating. It's got contributions from janitors, hookers, farmers, stockbrokers, teachers, gravediggers--it runs the gamut. Based on the interviews, Studs alludes that perhaps the best, most fulfilling thing someone can be is, golly gee, a firefighter! They rescue people, save lives, they're in the public spotlight. They get to be a hero, like, every day. And they're necessary, because things do burn. They also get a mandatory adrenaline rush each time they surge into billowing orange flames. Firefighter: the real dream job. Too bad my town's fire department has volunteer-based recruitment. All I can afford to do right now, in order to pay for grad school, is to make money. I hate money.

Stay tuned for Chronicles of Namibia--Part 5.