1/04/2008
Get involved or get lost

Call me very uptight, or very bored, but the words "join us" have been etched in my head for most of today. Blame it on four hours of coverage on the Iowa caucuses, which I watched with the intent of understanding democracy as our former colonizers intended us to do. Every candidate whose speech got aired continued to rally their supporters - and, hopefully, the rest of the United States - to their cause, especially when you think of Tuesday, and New Hampshire.

Volunteerism sounds very plausible, doesn't it? These politicians rely on volunteers to get things done, either by hands holding papers or hands holding papers with value (or, in other words, money - lots of it). With (their vision of) a future at stake, everybody is united by one single cause, and they hopefully get things done regardless of the result. Only politics is a bit limited when it comes to results, or at least that's what I get from the way things are done here.

But this entry isn't about politics, especially when you think that I'm not supposed to think about politics until a couple of months later. My mind has been doodling with volunteerism lately - and no, not of the noble kind, the kind that exudes altruism, puzzles psychologists, and yet claim to provide people with the happiest happiness. I was thinking more of the social kind, the one that compels people to get themselves engaged even if there isn't really any big noble cause involved. You know, stuff like starting a conversation.

Sure, I've used a big metaphor to describe a mundane thing, but I'm sure these "mundane" things, as you call it, end up making you happy too. Getting things done, and getting stroked in the process, surely makes one beam and blush in contentment, thinking to oneself, man, I have done it once again, and imagine canned applause in the end. The downside is, when the reaction is the opposite, it can just get you six feet under - not that you could commit suicide on the basis of one rejection alone, but just enough for one to question the point of social norms altogether. Insert unfamiliarity, and you make things worse.

My nineteen years of existence - almost - has cultivated the opinion that there's always something in people that you don't know, and that something will soon work against you. There's always been a point when I try to do something in good faith to someone, but somehow I end up feeling weird and queasy about it. It's a usual feeling when it's a blank thought - you never intended anything and just did it, which is a normal think if you're me - but nevertheless end up things going pretty weird. Take note: weird, not wrong.

I thought the online realm is some place where I'm safe from these things, but that never really was the case. I comment on one post, wait for a reply, and when I read it I wonder why I started the conversation in the first place. Maybe I've been so used to seeing myself as the outsider - the person whose thought never matter in public discourse, especially when some think I'm either too intelligent, or too naïve, or too out of touch with the world - that when I think of perfectly valid things, my own arguments get in the way. Or, maybe it's me trying so hard to get into something I don't really have any idea about - everything is a mystery even if you know it very well, you know.

Although you're not supposed to be automatically accepted to a certain whatever whenever you attempt something, the point of volunteerism is that certain bond that, hopefully, gets formed in the collective effort to get something done. But sometimes, when you start something, people get so limited with their intentions that they just force you out in the subtlest of ways - one that only entails you thinking about it... oh, so that's it, then.

There's an obvious glimmer of hope, still. Right now I'm having that queasy feeling acting as the customer complaining to the webmaster about something that doesn't work. And that's me, the person who just wants to get things done, talking to Rozette, the one who's probably done so much more. Insert that weird mix of insecurity, improbability, and just plain confusion and ill-placed motivations.

But at least it works now. My comments won't be tagged as spam, and the world can talk about her dog.

And your responses...

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