This is what you get when a whole lot of bored grown ups get too close to a camera. Okay, that's not entirely accurate. There was a legitimate photo booth at our annual Fall Festival, and these are our legitimate photos. That mustache and I became pretty good friends, as I recall.
How am I doing, you ask? Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm getting a little bit stir-crazy. We all are, I think. We're well into our field service here. Patients have come and gone, and new patients have come to take their places. The students and I have been doing this whole "school" thing for what seems like forever. We had our first good rain a couple nights ago, but other than that the weather maintains a warm and cloying mildness--not unlike the way a small bathroom feels right after someone has showered. Not that I'm complaining. It's just kind of surreal to know that somewhere Fall is falling, with Winter close on its heels, while we live in the land of perpetual Summer. I think Cabin Fever may be setting in.
We all deal with it in our own ways. From beard-growing contests (No-shave November, here we come!) to movie marathons ("You mean you've never seen Bridget Jones' Diary?!?") to homemade slingshots and blow-darts (I'm not naming any names, but some people I know spent their evening shooting a rolled up earplug across midships with a sling-shot made with catheters. Not used ones, thank goodness.) One of the more sanitary outlets available to us is ukulele club. Last year I learned the benefits of ukuleleing on a regular basis (good for the blood pressure, for one thing--it's impossible to stay angry when you're playing a uke). And this year, we have a motley little group that meets on Sunday evenings and strums through some of the classics. It's such a simple instrument. You don't need any experience, really. No practice charts to turn in. Just walk on by and pick up a uke and start strumming. Here is a short video that my friend Dan took during a typical session.
There now. Don't you feel happier?
Here's what I think. I think that it doesn't really matter how awesome your life is, if you live it long enough, sooner or later you're going to look around and say, "Is this it? I feel so...normal." You may be tempted to drop everything and join the Circus, but the truth is that's no way to live. I've got nothing against circuses, mind you. I'm just trying to make a point. A good life, in my opinion, is one that reaches beyond its own edges, one that takes root in the Eternal and bears fruit in the present. And you can't live a life like that if you spend all your time and energy running away from "normal."
So do your worst, Cabin Fever! I can't hear you over the sound of my ukulele songs. I'm too busy taking pictures of myself with paper mustaches to listen to your whining. And besides, I have a group of valuable teenagers to teach, and precious friends to comfort and entertain, and poems to write, and stories to tell, and children to play with. I don't have time to wish I was living someone else's life.