Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Work - Creative Non-Fiction by Gillian Cornwall


The head volunteer for the silent auction was the least silent creature I'd encountered in ages. She entered the hotel lobby like a comet entering the earth's atmosphere - impossible to ignore and inciting fear amid the mere earthlings. Yes, she was an asteroid (emphasis on the "ass") made of Lucy Ricardo instead of stone and mean instead of funny. She terrified me at first but I quickly learned that while her trajectory was inevitable, I could choose to react to the circumstances in any way I pleased. My shoulders dropped from their position about my ears and my usual smile of contentment returned to my quiet face. 

It astounds me when I see volunteers engaged in a humanitarian effort, raising money for a nation that has been through earthquake and tsunami, vying for power and control.; particularly since they are not even being paid for the effort. As I said, I spent the day veering from the course of this Lucy asteroid and expending my energy on tasks such as skirting tables and making jokes about being unfit for such a task, not having put a skirt on my own body for at least a decade. 

I stood back and let the asteroid sputter and spit as needed, responding calmly and kindly to her spark and shrapnel with the hope that an infinitesimal ripple of calm might slow her path to a self-destructive heart attack. Perhaps my tactic worked. After she barked "You have to get past me first!" upon announcement of my imminent departure, she actually hugged me upon leaving. This left me gob-smacked. 

What does each person with whom we interact carry away with them and what do they leave behind with us? Millions and billions and trillions of energy exchanges occurring in each fleeting moment, changing the story of the world each and every time. Still, we speak of chaos as though it were something separate from ourselves , something for which we aren't, in fact, completely responsible. A large part, if not all, of this chaos we fear, this chaos we are trying to  align, is a direct result of our own words and actions. 

Are we simply creating the mess in order to give ourselves something to do, something to clean up? If so, it's not so much chaos as it is job creation.    

-Gillian Cornwall   c2011

No comments: