I’m writing in reference to an assignments’ reflection questions…how has COVID 19 effected my mental…
Washington county, Colorado.Â 6am Saturday morning.
After a trip inside the rest stop to wash my face, weâ€™re heading home.Â Crossing into Colorado last night, the landscape becomes brown, dusty, flatâ€¦plains.Â High plains.Â This morning as the sun rises, the shadows roll off the hills as they melt into nothingâ€¦melt into plains.
A sign:Â if you ate today, thank a farmer.Â Cropsâ€¦corn, soybeans, hay. Feedlots, dairy operations.
6 days weâ€™ve been out here watching the landscape, talking about what we see.Â Our relationship experiment inside this aluminum box.
We ate dinner outside of the truck last night for the first time in 6 days.Â Ovid.Â Population 243.
Big Bâ€™s Bar & Grill.
As we park the big truck, old hot rods cross the dirt road in front of us going someplace.Â We donâ€™t know.Â One after another they go by.Â He asks a man in a filthy shirt inside what itâ€™s about, â€œprobably going to the racesâ€.Â Liz, the bartender, has red hair, tatoos, 3 kids.Â Fox news is on but she is not a fan.Â This is her place.Â She isnâ€™t from here.Â She grew up an army brat.Â I wonder what brought her to this little town but she got busy and I never got the chance to ask.
Burgers, a walk through town and we are back in the truck within an hour.
The world inside your truck can become very small.
Your things and your world are organized in a way to take care of your own needs.Â Your routine is familiar. In that way, it feels very safe and protected.Â The introduction of someone into that bubble or people from the outside with needs, timing and desires of their own can threaten the safety of getting your own needs met, the way you know works for you alone in this world of yours.Â As a truck driver, when you are out of the truck during the day, it is basically to unstrap, untarp, wait on everyone else to do everything else theyâ€™re supposed to do so that you can climb back into your truck and go to the next place.Â Often the confine of your truck is the only space during the week that you are in control of.Â You spend a lot of time inside that space, in control of that space.Â Possibly a little bit like living inside your bedroom.Â You figure out how to make it work in order to surviveâ€¦not just survive but to actually live well.
I think this is similar in some ways for all of us in one way and another.Â As we grow up we learn ways to organize our lives so that we are getting our own needs met.Â In theÂ world outside of a truck, however, it is constantly open for other peopleâ€™s interpretations, ideas, suggestions, desires, needs and interruptions.Â We either become angry or we learn to adapt, change and go with the flow.Â How do we each cope in our worlds?Â How have we arranged ourselves, our thoughts, expectations, plans and needs so that weâ€™re taken care of?Â What happens when things arenâ€™t going as we planned or imagined?Â What does it mean for each of us to have the ability to take care of ourselves, to be kind and thoughtful, patient, tolerant, understanding, empatheticâ€¦in our own daily environments and how do we react when our routines are upset?Â Life.
As for our own relationship experimentâ€¦living like this.Â Heâ€™s working and Iâ€™m navigating in that world.Â Heâ€™s navigating his bubble with me in it.Â We see the good, bad and ugly and often there is no way of getting out most days.Â He did ask on one bad day if I wanted him to take me to the airport.Â Can you see another personâ€™s badâ€¦your own badâ€¦ and not turn away or hide.Â Can we be that vulnerable and then that loving?Â We are both skilled in our own ways with this dance.Â Together. We do it together and we get better at it.Â We actually love it.
The truck driver:
Storytelling, relationship stuff?
Oh Boy, thatâ€™s what I think often when the girl looks to me to share some thoughts or experiences.Â Before she came along I would jabber day after day telling stories about mundane things, quips from the road, all on facebook.Â Junk from my child mind seeking attention or diversion, surrogate intimacy.Â Thinking I have important things to tell others about.Â We do.Â We all have something important to share, I now believe this.Â I sometimes listen better because of this.
Anyway, when I was about 10, I was put into webelos.Â This is a mens training club for very young men between cub scouts and boy scouts.Â The only memory I have of this experience is that of the parent leader, a dad, discussing with all us youngsters how funny it was that we now had a president with the name of Jerry.Â President Jerry!Â The highest office in the land.Â Jerry was not elected, he took his position after Nixon resigned in shame.Â Jerry pardoned Nixon. Â Jerry was not elected when it came time for Americans to choose next.Â They chose â€œJimmyâ€ Carter!
Different times back then.Â Watergate.Â I hated watching the news as a child, Watergate, Viet Nam, ERAâ€¦ and so much more dry unhappy news of the world.Â The world of adults appeared insane to me.Â I remember I liked playing war and cowboys and Indians, smear the queer and other rough play in which you never wanted to be the loser because you were humiliated and possibly hurt. Â Â Lord of the Flies, remember the movie, the book from high school?
I encourage any to take a review into the sparksversion of the book, Lord of the Flies.Â ThereÂ are so many great works that illustrate manâ€™s â€œbestâ€ behavior.Â I love to revisit these things from high school.Â Power and relationship, the struggle.Â Man !Â Fascinatingly tragic.
What is the definition of manhood?Â Cub scouts, webelos and boy scouts, traditional training grounds? Â I left there hungry.
I was born in 1964.Â I am still training.Â Practice makes for more experience.
So, relationship stuff?Â This time in the truck I asked the girl if she wanted me to take her to the airport.
It was Wednesday I think.Â I was having a hard time coping with some logistical realities. I was having a hard time coping. Â Thatâ€™s a very watered down version of the events.Â Am I brave enough to share the intricate aspects of our relationship? Yes, just not here today.Â The point is, if there is one.Â The point is, from a Lord of the Flies mindset, is not how I engage in relationship anymore.Â The girl and I can encounter conflict and keep the spears down and neither of us seek to leverage big rocks upon the other. Â I think I have outgrown such behaviors.Â A welcome work of progress.
Us as a community, left and right, can we be together?Â Can I honor the rights of those on the right while speaking up to look for the preservation of my own.Â Respect? Civility?Â Love?
I prefer the sound of crickets over barking dogs.Â Random course distraction.
Oh boy, Itâ€™s all relationship stuff.