DAY FORTY-SIX (MAY 2)
SHARE ABOUT MY SELF-ESTEEM PLUNGE AT A 12-STEP MEETING
In recovery circles, they say "You're only as sick as your secrets." It's the stuff that we stuff inside that gradually erodes our sense of well being and leads us down the path of inequity. So I bravely shoot my hand up at a meeting where I know the chairperson, sure that I'll have the privilege of dumping my misery on any and all. Alas, he chooses people from the other three corners of the room, leaving me feeling not only inadequate but invisible. (Rejection: 1, Acceptance: 0)
DAY FORTY-SEVEN (MAY 3)
PROVIDE ALTERNATIVE DOCTOR FULL DETAILS OF MY DEVIANCE FROM HIS PROGRAM
Again, no ego, no bluster, not even any veiled frustration on his end. Does this man love his patients unconditionally? Don't think so, as I can recall several past episodes in which I got a good talking-to for my careless self-care. Maybe he's mellowing with age. Anyway, there's hope for our continued relationship. (Rejections: 0, Compatible Acceptances: 1)
DAY FORTY-EIGHT (MAY 4)
ASK MY PHYSICAL THERAPIST ABOUT ASSISTING/APPRENTICING AT PT CENTER
I've been running my yoga-based Injury Clinic for several years now, and while I've learned a lot and had great success with many students, I've also become aware of some huge gaps in my knowledge. The human body is vastly and intricately complex, as any anatomy teacher or medical practitioner will tell you. Just when I think I'm "getting it," I see I've just glimpsed the tip of the iceberg.
More than once I've contemplated enrolling in a physical therapy school, but the logistics are daunting. It's recently become a four-year, full-time degree program. I just don't have the hours in the day or dollars in the bank to finance a four-year employment sabbatical. I've been in contact with the Hospital for Special Surgery about apprenticing with their PT program, but they're located an hour from my apartment, require a full-time commitment, and feature skills with lots of high-tech equipment I can't even pronounce.
So while I'm in PT for my own shoulder, I ask my therapist about apprenticing at his facility, a short walk from my apartment. He refers me to the HR guy, who happily informs me that I can either be a volunteer (no pay but no commitment) or apply to be an "assistant PT," regular hours and minimal salary. Looks like either could be a good option come fall, when I return from summer by the sea. (Acceptance: 2 possibilities; Rejections:0)
DAY FORTY-NINE (MAY 5) PART ONE
ALMOST HALFWAY THROUGH--CREATE MORE FUTURE REJECTIONS
Running low on new ideas, so devote some time to creative brainstorming to keep myself and you, my dear readers, entertained for another 50 days. After all, if it stops being fun and at least a wee bit nervy, I'll stop doing it.
JOIN THE TEA PARTY
Not sure exactly how to do this, but curious to see if they will accept a lefty. So I ask google how to join. Turns out there's no official, national party to join like the DNC or RNC, so I'm directed to local affiliate groups in my geographic region. Not surprisingly, there are none in New York City or the Hamptons. Closest are Westchester and Duchess counties, both north of the city. Undaunted, I craft and email the following letter to Westchester, careful to concoct a mix of plus and minus traits (all true) to gum up their decision:
Dear Westchester County Tea Party,
I am writing to request membership in your organization.
I do not know what the criteria are for membership, but here's a little about myself:
- I voted for Hillary Clinton
- I am committed to preserving the natural environment
- I do take issue with many of the "entitlement" programs and would like to see more government discretion in handing out benefits
- I do believe that everyone should have health insurance, but I am frustrated with the solutions offered by both political parties
- My views on immigration policies are complex. I do not believe all illegal immigrants should be granted a path to citizenship, but nor do I support misguided initiatives like building a physical wall on the Mexican border or banning entry of all people from any specific nation(s). I do not endorse permanent (long-term) bilingual programs for public schools or government agencies
- I am a provisional member of the DAR (application being processed as I write this)
- My father's family has been here since well before the American Revolution
So, like most Americans, I am a mix of "red" and "blue." But I remain open-minded and curious about views from all parts of the spectrum. I abhor dogma, fixed viewpoints, intolerance, and propaganda.
Please let me know if there is a place for me in your organization.
Apparently I succeeded in bamboozling them, as I have yet to receive a response. (Acceptance/Rejection pending)
DAY FIFTY (MAY 6) PART ONE
JOIN THE HARI KRISHNAS
To even things out (re: the Tea Party), I decide to join the Hari Krishnas. Back to google we go. Turns out anyone can join the Hari Krishnas, as long as you do certain practices. I can check most of them off as existing parts of my yogic lifestyle: mantra meditation, contemplation of deities and teachers, reading of spiritual texts like the Bhagavad Gita. I only fall short on not being a vegetarian. But I'm hugely relieved to see that I don't have to:
- Shave my head
- Wear orange robes and Birkenstocks
- Pass out flowers in airports
- Take a vow of poverty
- Chant in public (I prefer the solitude of my Jeep when belting out my mantra melodies).
However, just to be sure I'm reaching the mother ship, I pen the following letter and email it off to the premier site in google's list:
While I understand that anyone can join the Hari Krishnas by performing specific practices, I would like to receive a membership card stating that I am a member of the Hari Krishnas. It strikes me that this would be useful to have on hand in specific social/professional situations. Please feel free to scan/email the card to me. Or, if you prefer, I can supply my home address and you can mail me a hard copy.
Many thanks, Hari Om, Lois
Alas, like the Tea Party, the Hari Krishnas apparently face a backlog of requests, as I have yet to hear back from them. Hari Krishna, Hari Krisha, Krisha Krisha, Hari Om. (Acceptance/Rejection pending)
ASK MY HOUSEMATE TO WRITE AN ARTICLE FOR LOCAL PAPER ABOUT INDUSTRIAL SAND PIT GOING IN ACROSS THE STREET
Okay, back to real life. My house is in a local-yokel middle-middle-class neighborhood, a mix of ranch and bungalows and occasional two-story farmhouses. Across the road is a virgin forest, acres and acres of scrub oaks and untamed underbrush.
A few years ago we had a brouhaha over an aggressive local developer's attempt to install 60 units of "affordable" housing (price point, $1.2 million, but then there's no functional definition of affordable in the Hamptons), along with 120 parking spaces. On 8.5 acres. Inconceivable density and subsequent congestion on our little roads, not to mention straining our groundwater supply and other infrastructure.
Our Freetown neighborhood association, headed by the unsinkable Nanci Lagarenne, went to battle. And just when things were looking bleak for our side, the Great Recession hit, the real-estate bubble burst, and the developer went silent. Sigh of relief, temporary as it was.
Now the owners of the other half of the woods are exploiting a grandfather clause to install a commercial sand and gravel pit on their land. Walking down my driveway one morning, I did a double take. Where once had been acres of woods was now a gaping hole of exposed sandy soil.
My guess: 400 trees felled in three days, and more coming down as I watched. Enormous earth movers and wood choppers heaving and grinding away. Overnight environmental blight, to be followed by countless years of industrial overdrive obliterating our peaceful hood.
Nanci was already on the job, reaching out to neighbors via a string of alarming emails about how fast things were moving and how bad it would get. Since the town seemed oddly unresponsive, she urged us all to write letters to the local papers, which do have a way of shaming ne're do wells into shape. I quickly penned a couple of letters and got my dad (who owns "my" house) to do the same. Then it occurred to me that across the living room sat a housemate who writes for the local paper. I immediately forwarded the flurry of emails to him, urging him to put our drama in print. Alas, didn't seem to affect him the way it did me, as days later he seemed hardly cognizant of what was going on across the street. (Rejections: 1, Acceptances: 0)
DAY FIFTY-ONE (MAY 7) PART ONE
SEND OUT FEELERS ABOUT EXPANDING MY BASE OF OPERATIONS AT SELECT LOCATIONS
Seems I'll always and forever be someone else's employee, as being an independent contractor already stretches the boundaries of my ability to commit. So while I happily let others take the responsibility of carrying overhead, staffing, organizing schedules, etc., I'm irrationally surprised when they don't seek me out for deeper involvement in their programming.
So I decide it's time to be more proactive. Ask for more work. Ask to take a larger role. Come out of the shadows. Problem is, folks, it's acrowded playing field out there and apparently lots of more ambitious or more focused individuals have mastered outreach while I've been bumbling through the forest like Winnie the Pooh, stopping to enjoy a pot of honey here and there without any particular goals in mind. Now I'm paying the price for enjoying life. As much as my colleagues respect me, they mostly have commitments to existing staffers. I'll have to wait for a vacancy. (Rejections: 2, Acceptances: 0-or deferred)
ASK THE ART DEALER MENTIONED ABOVE IF SHE'D STILL LIKE ME TO BRING MY COLLAGES OUT THIS SUMMER; FISH AROUND TO SEE WHAT HER OPTIONS ARE FOR EXHIBITIONS
Takes a while for her to get back to me (appears everyone is busy busy!), but she graciously replies that her summer exhibitions are being held in an old barn-rough and ready for durable sculptures but not ideal for delicate works on paper. Suggests we convene over options for the fall. Too bad, as summer is high season out in the Hamptons, when the population (and art viewership) soars. Still, I may just have to get used to little by slowly. (Rejections: 0, Acceptances: 1, deferred)
DAY FIFTY-TWO (MAY 8) PART ONE
WRITE LETTERS TO EDITORS OF TWO LOCAL PAPERS IMPLORING SOMEONE/SOMEWHERE/SOMEHOW TO STOP THE SAND PIT FROM GOING IN ACROSS THE STREET
Here's one (the other one typed into their website, so can't figure out how to retrieve):
As a concerned resident of Freetown, a purely residential, middle-class neighborhood just north of East Hampton Village, I am deeply disturbed by the proposed transformation of the modest"Talmage sandpit" operation (already questionable since our area is zoned residential, not commercial) has been leased to a third party who intends to transform into a multi-use sandpit, vegetative waste dumping, composting, and RCA (recycled concrete) facility with grave impacts on our local environment.
Such an operation could threaten the quality of our ground water (drinking water) throughout the town, which has already been compromised by 50 years of mining stand at Talmage.
The proposed new uses would cause airborne toxic pollutants, dust, dirt, debris, and heavy machinery all day on road not equipped for such vehicles.
Finally, our neighborhood already encompasses two affordable housing developments (Whalebone II and II and Whalebone Apartments) and the East Hampton Mobile Home Park, but no open land/green spaces/public parks.
We can provide photos that prove that illegal dumping has already occurred on the site. Whatever the new tenant claims, the evidence is in that their intention is to push beyond legal zoning to contaminate our entire neighborhood, as well as the drinking water for the entire town.
This must stop now!
Good news: Both letters get printed! Bad news: doesn't seem to have any impact on the atrocity going on across the way. Civics lesson: some pigs are more equal than others, and so get more license in pushing the limits of the law.
Stay tuned. 100 Days of Rejection continues...