Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dare I Hope?

Not like it isn't wonderful being me lately... Spending the mornings puttering in the garden or dreamily riding the lawn mower, heading to the gym for a leisurely workout, reading the Times and smoking cigars on the porch of Starbucks in Doylestown... And heck! I haven't even gotten my kayak in the water for the first time this year. (This year, I take on the Delaware River instead of good old Lake Galena.

But I'm not and I never have been a big fan of a meager income. (Interestingly though, the bi-weekly checks I get from Unemployment are bigger than what I made working really hard at Wuperior Soodcraft.)

So on that basis alone, I am eager to get a job.

Been sending out the resumés, but no bites yet. Even from positions for which I'm well qualified, which always leaves me a little puzzled, but I don't let it get to me. If there's a reason they don't like me ("Aaaiiiieeee!!! He used to work with addicts!!!" or "Aaaiiiieeee!!! The politician he worked for was a Democrat!!!" or "Aaaiiieeee!!! He's from New York City!!!") then it's probably best I don't go and work there, right?

But a few months ago, the Mayor of Doylestown, a buddy of mine from Starbucks, mentioned that the school where his business partner sent her daughter was looking for some help raising money and I should get in touch with them.

So I did.

I met with the administrative team at the school. And liked the place a lot. They're going through this whole reorganization process, and taking their sweet time about it. Which is cool. My unemployment runs through August, so I'm not feeling all urgent yet.

But tonight, I was invited to attend a meeting to "observe" the Board of Trustees of the place.

Just got back from that.

It was really cool.

I'm doing my best to approach the situation with equanimity. Don't want to get my hopes up and have them dashed.

But I'd really like to work there.

It's verrrrry Bucks County. Not the Bucks County of McMansions and Lexus' with "W '04" bumper stickers. But rather, the Bucks County best summed up by a notice I read years ago on the bulletin board over the fixin's bar at Dilly's, this great hot dog and soft ice cream place in Centre Bridge, PA, on the river a few miles north of New Hope. (Don't miss Dilly's on your next trip, and by all means get a coffee milk shake. They're amazing. You'll never have better.) The notice read: "Wanted: Someone to care for my three feline companions for a period of four to six months while I travel around visiting organic farming communities before choosing an organic farming community to relocate to."

I'm pretty sure that's verbatim. That tortured syntax stuck in my mind.

That's the Bucks County I'm talking about!

What I used to refer to when I was a snide teenager as "The Land Of The Dog In The Back Of The Pick Up Truck."

And this school is definitely one of the remnants. I think I was the only person in the room not wearing Teva's and there were like twenty people there. (I, of course, was wearing boots.) They were kind, tolerant, smart, warm, and chatty.

On the ride there, I drove for ten miles along State Highway 32, better known as River Road. The phlox is in bloom this time of year. It's so beautiful. Imagine what it would be like if that was my commute every morning? The mountain and ancient farms on one side of me, the river on the other.

But after the open-to-the-public portion of the Board meeting was concluded and I was thanked for coming, I made my way down the hallway of the school, the walls decked with student art and such, and through the plate glass main doors.

And it hit me.

That sweet, humid nighttime air, full or chirping crickets, spring peepers, and croaking frogs.

So beautiful.

When people complain about humidity, I have to remind myself that a lot of people don't like it. Growing up in a river town, warm weather = humidity. In fact, it's humid even in cold weather, but then we call it "damp." I remember when I was about twelve or so, the Baptist Church down in Point Pleasant had a sort of Sunday Night Lecture Series, mostly consisting of pastors from other Baptist Churches. It was folding chairs out on the lawn in the humid summer night, the fireflies coming out, the bats swooping over head. About a tenth of a mile away, through the trees, you can see the Mighty Delaware River, where the Baptists would sometimes baptize. I only saw it once or twice, a crowd of families, many of them in their sixties and seventies, out there in the river wearing white robes, the dunk, the singing of hymns. (When I saw the movie "The Handmaid's Tale" in which the hymn "Shall We Gather At The River?" figured prominently, I got chills.

Always always always, that still, heavy hot summer night air. Punctuated every now and then by a faint breeze, so sweet with wild flowers. And sometimes, those dramatic thunderstorms that, according to an old wives' tale, follow a river upstream. The skies darken, the wind picks up, you see the undersides of the leaves in the trees, and you know you're in for it.

Oh that Bucks County night.

And when I came out of the school, it hit me like a brickbat. I think I giggled excitedly all the way to my car, breathing deeply, just about drinking it in, letting all the memories flood my mind.

So yeah.

I'd really like to work at what we'll call The Hippie School. I think they need me. Someone to come in and make things run smoothely. Someone to tackle those tedious and time consuming projects that no one else wants to do. And, of course, someone to bring home the bacon, raising money for the place.

But, in a way, I think I need them.

(Oh. And another attractive thing about the place is that they'd probably be flexible with me attending Construction Management classes a couple of nights a week.)

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