Climate Anxiety Counseling: Day 20 (Last Kennedy Plaza Day)

Weather: First hot (but not blistering) day, nice in the shade

Number of people: 7 stoppers, 2 walk-bys

Number of hecklers: 0!

Pages of notes: 7

People who took a picture without permission: 2, friends with each other

Conversations between people previously unknown to one another: 2

People who recognized and commented on the Peanuts reference: 1

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $0.45

 

Observations:

At least two people, when I told them today was my last day in KP, responded with some form of, “Why? You should come back!”

As I was setting up, SSI drag guy came up to say, “I got my check!” I was so pleased. He said, “Next time I’ll bring you a chair, I make these little chairs out of clothespins. No glue, no glue, I make ’em, I stain ’em, they’re beautiful.” The making of things was a theme today — one person said if he had his portfolio of drawings there he would give them to me, another person wants to write her autobiography.

Other themes today: religion (there was an outdoor church service and food giveaway — people were singing “In the Everlasting Arms”) and conspiracy theories, also a big feature yesterday. I did start getting a little impatient with people who mentioned the Illuminati.

At least three people who are avowedly in a bad way have come back — sometimes the following day — to put money in the donation jar. 

*

Some conversations: 

I definitely think about it all the time. When I was a kid the winters were cold. Now it gets hotter and hotter every winter. I myself am a conspiracy theory kinda guy — I don’t think this is a conspiracy, I just think of things that way. Yeah, I think about global warming a lot.

*

Icecaps melting and flooding everywhere. Skin cancer because of holes in the ozone layer. And all the various forms of wildlife that are going extinct because of climate change.

Do you talk to other people about this?

I don’t think I meet people who aren’t on the same page about this. The people I know accept it as a serious issue. It’s strange about America, there are so many people that are unaware that it’s an issue. The corporations that control the media — the left-wing media is a myth, it’s all corporations — it’s quite pathetic, we make decisions on the information we’re given. I don’t know how you stop the corporate media, the root problem is getting them to stop only saying what’s on their agenda. 

*

I’m anxious about a lot of things right now. The climate isn’t at the top of my list, but it should be. I have a lot of things going on in my life right now. I just moved into an apartment for the first time in my life. I went from my parents to– [Her phone rings and she answers it, then resumes talking with me.] I’m empty nesting, my kids moved out. Just a lot of things. I had to be hospitalized — every bone in my body hurt. They discharged me with a diagnosis of depression and adjustment disorder. I’m getting my license back after 18 years.

That’s great, a little more mobility. 

Independence.

*

I don’t know if I have specific anxieties. I had four when I heard you were starting this, but I forgot them. I have a climate anxiety story: when I was in high school I had a friend whose sister was the resident goth — she had a girlfriend and they would put collars on each other and walk each other around. We weren’t close. I ran into this guy when I was working at [redacted], and … he started telling me that in the meantime, his sister had decided she didn’t like women got married to some kind of secret military somebody, and apparently his job was preparing for the climate wars. In 10 years they thought things would change enough that there would be a civil war for resources. He had theories about geographical divisions. That was more than 10 years ago, and I don’t really wonder if any of it was true. But I wonder how many people are thinking about crazy stuff like that.

Do you?

Sometimes. 

*

[This person talked very fast, and I didn’t get everything they said.]

If I move somewhere, like in the mountains, I think about what if those volcanoes blow up and lava comes down. Now I’m in the Ocean State, we’re probably gonna die by drowning. What’s the possible way we’re gonna be taken out? My last apartment — I always accumulate. My last landlord stole everything in my apartment, right down to the cat. I had enough food to feed the whole block, at least for a couple weeks. I’m sorry but I’d rather die up here, up top. I don’t want to die underground. When the world ends, there isn’t anything you’re gonna do. I don’t dwell on it like that, but I do think about it. What are you gonna do, walk around with masks on? There’s gotta be airflow from somewhere! But I mean, what are you really gonna do? The most important thing is air. You gonna make filters? You can’t even drink the water. The water supplies, the machines, ain’t nobody gonna filter the water. People are starting to be like, “We’re gonna kill him and drink his blood, we’re thirsty.” If I get a toothache, who’s gonna pull my tooth? If I get these plastic boobs, one pop, who’s gonna be my doctor? And medical — there’s certain people that depend on insulin, what are they gonna do? They’re just gonna die, there’s no two ways about it … There’s gonna be the eaters and the — eaters and the entrees.  “Close your eyes and we’ll pretend that’s not [her] we eatin’.” I’ll be a good entree. One leg alone will feed five families. That lady over there, she’ll be a good meal.

*

[I didn’t have time to write a poem on site today, so here’s one from another day this week.]

Today’s poem: 

I said to James I wish

I could transform into

a sunburst of energy

pictured it yellow

and orange and beyond praise

a chemical swagger

something my own size I

could undergo

a tremendous conversion

at first to convince but then

I thought to be fed upon

to power everyone

someone whose head is down

could already be mourning

we don’t know

the names of the dead

that they use for themselves

they could be glowing

on a tiny charged screen

leaving their green traces

charred into what if you look

at them for a long time light

your neck a slope

your face a burial

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Climate Anxiety Counseling: Day 20 (Last Kennedy Plaza Day)

  1. Pingback: Climate Anxiety Counseling: Looking Back and Looking Forward | climateanxietycounseling

  2. Pingback: Alternate Histories: 6/7, 4/24 | climateanxietycounseling

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