Less and less with each passing month.
Practically speaking? Because there is an inverse relationship between how much fun something is to how much someone will pay you to do it.
Writing, I think, is a desire to articulate this abstraction we call life into something that can be shared. If you don’t know how to interpret the abstraction or don’t care to share it, then there’s nothing left to be taught.
June 18 – Something You Are Ignoring
aka. Post 18 of Those 30 Posts in June Blog-Every-Day Posts
For better or worse, sometimes you just need to put your head in the sand, and ignore…
that it’s only five months until the new york marathon | those darn bumblebees | my poor little pepper plant | this post until about five minutes ago | that gaping hole in the park next door | my property tax bill | my abs | the last beer in my fridge | the thistles in my garden | some emails I need to reply to | my kindle | my hammock (even though it is calling my name) | the cut on my finger with the little flap of skin that is really driving me crazy | did I mention the damn bees | the last few panels of drywall left to install in my garage | the price of gas | the price of everything | the ache in my back | my dog (but not really… she just acts like I am) | a list of text messages I haven’t replied to | summer races | my race training plan | the last three episodes of House of Cards I haven’t watched yet | the price of my cell phone plan | work-life balance | and probably everything I promised I was going to do this summer
I’ll stop ignoring them soon. Just not at this moment.
I try -try- to frame my life around the idea that I am owed nothing by anyone except myself. So, I think I owe myself the pursuit of happiness, but no one owes it to me.
Adventure. It’s cliché, but week-after-week-after-week at a desk will do that to you, I suppose.
June continues! And onward we push through those thirty posts that I’ve been writing every year this month. For the fifth year in a row I’m back to a month of daily blogging: each day a new post on a new topic, but on the same blog-per-day topic as last year, creating another set of Those 30 Posts in June. Today, that post just happens to be about something that I am:
Listening To… The Sounds of Mid-June
I’ve heard a lot of things this past week or two. If you’re interested, some of those things happen to include:
the coffee grinder at the second cup where I’m writing this | the clunk-clunks of my car as yet another part fails and the inevitable need to actually, physically go vehicle shopping looms closer | the sound of about a hundred sets of bagpipes leading the march of about five thousand mourning police officers down jasper avenue | a conversation about donairs by a small nearby group of retired men in the coffee shop where I’m writing this | an non-fiction audiobook about cognitive dissonance | the various dings, chimes, and tones as I finally make the effort to fine-tune my numerous iPhone notifications | an excited seven-year-old preparing for her long-anticipated summer vacation | the occasional zap of an electrocuted bug in my new mosquito zapper | most of the entire back-catalog of the Cracked podcast | the wind, so, so much wind | the distant evening cheers of excited parents from the nearby soccer field as I’m hanging out in the backyard watering and watering and watering my garden | white noise intermixed with the pittering of keyboards at my ever-quieter office | the revving of car engines from the numerous idiots and other disrespectful drivers who seem to have moved into the nearby condo | the new chime sound that they’ve started using for an approaching LRT train | my own audible groans as I read the narrow minded and inanely trollish comments on any news article remotely linked to provincial politics | the first five seconds of video truck ads thanks to Youtube scraping my browsing history and figuring out that I’ve been reading truck reviews and thus slamming targeted advertising down my throat everytime I want to watch a video | the robin who has taken up residence in our backyard | that little voice in my head reminding me that I’m due for a run
a mash-up of rest & volunteering
People give away their time in a wide variety of interesting ways. We call that act volunteering.
To volunteer –towards something, with something, for something, as something– is an act of societal giving. And that gift, be that anywhere on the spectrum of purely generous to community restitution, comes in the form of a person with a skill or ability, performing that skill or ability for little or no compensation.
As a society, it seems as though we often take the act of volunteering for granted. But it’s actually worth something to society. A big something. For example, a perspective paper from 2013 noted that the estimated economic value of volunteering to Canadians amounted to $50 Billion dollars annually.  Fifty. Billion. That’s roughly $1500 per person (based on a rough population estimate) of value… per year.
Per capita, that’s mathematically less than our household pays in municipal property taxes. Y’know, less than the money collected to pave our roads, maintain our parks, haul away our trash, and do all those other useful services provided by the local city infrastructure.
Unpaid work. Provided by random people in their spare time. For free. Impressed, yet?
Yet, anecdotally, it seems as though volunteer turnover is higher than any other kind of work. From a professional perspective, at least, it seems like people stick to paid jobs for anywhere from two to ten years. As far as skilled labour, data suggest that there is a higher turnover than professional or managerial workers  but (again, anecdotally) that seems heavily dependent on the job-by-job nature of trades, local economic conditions, blah, blah, blah… and so on.
One would suppose that work people choose to do in their spare time, presumably chosen because of a passion, interest or because they get to work with friends or family, rather than work one is required to do because of the need to pay bills and expenses and being strictly limited by skills and availability of work… one would suppose that volunteer jobs may have a stronger staying power with the people who enter them.
But is that truly the case?
The author has personal observations on the subject, for example: Serving on boards, membership rotates quickly. Leading groups of sports teams, coaches and mentors burn out at an alarming rate. Donating skills in technology often comes in the form of cleaning up after a previous volunteer who has bailed from the role mid-stride. And working as a volunteer team coordinator for a cultural group meant constant recruiting and endless interviewing.
It could be speculated that this is due to any number of factors, not the least of which are that the lack of pay equates to a lack of incentive. People, in general, are naturally inclined to the path of least resistance, no? So, quitting a job that pays a wage or salary actually results in more work: looking for a new job, budgetting on a changed income, interviewing, learning new skills or adapting to a new workplace. On the other hand, quitting a volunteer job means less work because… well… the quitter gets a break, has more free time, and presumably fewer obligations and commitments to manage.
There is stigma attached to quitting anything, but walking away from a volunteer role is arguably seen as rest for the soul and a detachment from an unnecessary (though appreciated) obligation. Quitting a job is seen as, at best, social, economic, and familial risk-taking …and at worst, a kind of personal failure.
The author shares no more or less guilt than the average quitter, but offers the notion as a conclusion to this essay: Are volunteer assignments too easy to quit? Could we change that? Or do we even want to?
 2013, Assigning an Economic Value to Volunteering – volunteer.ca
 Alberta HR Trends Report – 2015 hira.ca
a mash-up of sex & food
One may only imagine the vast quantity of words that have been spilled across the historic pages of humanity on the subject of the aphrodisiac. In fact, in the modern world one needs only go so far as the SPAM folder of one’s own mature email account to learn of the vast variety of exotic concoctions that claim to improve romance through ingestion of the same.
Daily invocations to click on message subjects such as “to men who want to act better in bed” or “give your woman the first-rate intimate experience” implore the presumably hapless (and physically humbled) recipient towards further explorations down dark and deep rabbit holes of creepy web addresses hosted in foreign lands.
Don’t dare click those links save the few who possess the technical prowess in untangling digital the snares that surely lurk therein.
Our curiosity with the often mundane potential of exotic foods to tip the genetic balance in favour of some kind of yet-to-be-woken, still-slumbering sexual prowess is obviously not new, and one may wonder why the myth of the super-food cure-all-inadequacies eat-this-and-be-awesome clings so firmly to our collective story.
Perhaps, frustrated by the lack of effect from the daily and mundane diet each of us endures, our resilience towards untested hope overpowers our logic and reason. Each of us travels with our palates, adventures with our stomachs, and journeys to the distant lands of the unusual culinary curiosities in the hopes of unlocking something. Perhaps that something is little more than an experience or a check box on a long list of daring delicacies. Or it is possible that the aforementioned something is a kind of emotional desperation, a lighted beacon in the fog of life that promises civility and hospitality at its source.
And then just maybe that’s the rub of it all. Each person who yearns for an exotic aphrodisiac does it in their own way. Some by ordering magical pills through the mail after venturing into dark digital alleyways. Others, by braving the culinary adventures of exotic lands and reshaping the manner in which those experiences present their existence to the universe.
Either way, it’s trading the notion of adventurous ingestion for the too-often-hollow promise of that elusive “first-rate intimate experience.” And if those historic pages of humanity have anything to teach, its that such an experience has been long sought and rarely found.
Probably the same sorts of things I frequently point the lens of my camera towards.
The fatalist in me is always at odds with the little part that still feels the fluttering wake of quantum improbability.
Because someone has to pay for it.