Climate Anxiety Counseling: Regular Shift, 5/15/15

Weather: A little feverish without the breeze, pleasant with it

Number of people: 7 stoppers, 2 walkbys

Number of hecklers: 2 very very mildly sexual comments that wouldn’t even be a big deal if they didn’t stem from the same place that more aggressive and frightening comments come from

Pages of notes: 8, 4 from one person

Alternate Histories: 1, sort of

Dogs seen: 1, briefly from a distance

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $1.75


Hair colors of today: bright purple; streaky lavender, pink and green like the mane of a magical unicorn.

A lot of people used the “stupid voice” rhetorical strategy today. Lots of TV hate, too.

The “sort of” alternate history came from a very long and detailed conversation that I’ve excerpted part of here, but that really deserves (and will get) its own post.

The little boy whose family walks by most days now starts the face-making and looks at me to make a face back.

Some conversations:

I was anxious in the winter. It was brutal. Definitely my mood changes with the seasons. Once the weather broke, I felt better. You get to the point where you’re just exhausted–the cold’s exhausting, the snow is exhausting. We actually had a spring this year–last year we just went from winter to summer. [Marks Wickford on the map.]

Do you want to say something about why you love it?

Serenity. I went to grammar school there, but I didn’t really appreciate it when I was a kid. It makes me feel serene, and that’s very important to me, because I’m in recovery.


Being homeless, needing medication, needing food. They told me I need preauthorization for my meds and they wouldn’t give it to me. The doctor gave me 15 days supply, that’s nothing.


[These two came up together.]

Her: I’m most anxious that we will keep limping along, just barely enough that no one ever has to really give a shit, that it’ll seem not quite that bad until it’s just over.

What do you mean when you say “over”, like total destruction of planet?

Her: Not even that. That we’ll just limp along in shitty ways, destroying cities, more people living without food and water, nobody ever doing anything real about it.

Him: Not the planet, the planet doesn’t give a fuck.

Her: The planet will be better after we’re gone–our destruction would probably be productive for the planet.

What do you think doing something real about it would be?

Her: There’s gonna have to be some sort of fairly major global solutions, intergovernmental cooperative efforts. My own inclination is to encourage these piecemeal solutions, permaculture, local actions, but that’s very limited.

What do you think we’d have to be willing to give up for those global solutions?

Him: Convenience.

I feel like that’s one of those piecemeal, personal things though–what about on a global level like you were talking about?

Him: Our autonomy as a nation. Other countries too, but Americans are more egocentric–“Oh, we’re an exception, we’re so special.”

Her: The opaque nature of our own complicit behavior, and where our money comes from and what it goes toward, how it contributes to these issues, how they’re interconnected. Governments would need to be much more transparent.


[Doctor’s note: this is the conversation that turned into a very detailed, concrete set of ideas for an alternate way of proceeding, and I want to give those ideas their own post.]

It’s fear porn–don’t go out of your house, don’t go out in the street, be afraid to live. That’s what they want anyway. As humanity we have to protect each other and love each other until the end. Nothing lasts forever. What matters is each other and how we treat each other. There’s schools in this city that are built with toxic chemicals, toxic sites on either side. It’s eugenics. And people are like, “Well, gotta go to work. At some point we’ll get back to you.” And then all of a sudden that was thirty years ago and people are all, “We shoulda done something about that.” [At other times in history], people would come after you with pitchforks and torches and a puppet of yourself, and they’d be like, “This is you,” and set that shit on fire. And you’d be like, “Holy crap, they’re pissed, let’s back off.” … People get a hostile vibe from me ’cause I’m like, What’s wrong with you–’cause shit’s fucked up. I’m like Debbie Downer with my friends … they’ll be like, “Uh, still working on that job search, talk to you later.”


What’s making me anxious is finding out if I’ll get permanently the job I’ve been temping for. I have an interview on the 29th with [REDACTED].

Do you get a good sense from the people there?

Yes, especially the boss I’m working with now. He wrote me a letter of recommendation to apply. It’s a good office, I like the people, I’m good at the work. It would be perfect, but they won’t confirm it. They’re interviewing 36 people, and … all it takes is one niece, one cousin of a politician.

Today’s poems (two because I didn’t do one on Thursday):

The quivering jaw

the soft sign

hunted under

normal levels

how to recognize

your other future as a horror

spell it out for me

the business of your metal

bike frames and rubber tires

to wear out and sell

today’s bad it’s a bad day

how are you today

I’m so bad today

I’m full sore today

I can’t seem to remember today

or run out of horror

it won’t exhaust

its deep source in me

spring of dust

I don’t really believe

surely I don’t really

bear it if I did

I couldn’t if I really

could restore it

what the rule would be

after collapse

feel the path cut out

for me on the ground

walk over my growing

grave the worst of it

we can’t name or know

but can only read

till our eyes are sore

without ever showing

that we weren’t looking


I don’t want to feel a terrible hope

I want to feel a regular hope like this

will work or work out not like this

will transform and tear through

there is always a leap a last

step to be taken the story says

it but not what it was and not

whether it worked once

the story part was past and I thought

it was real he said I thought

it was something that happened

he said this yesterday so today

we can talk about it in the past

we can know that much and see

that furthered out so still of stature

are we that every shadow

of every pebble looks like

it could be the dark fall

waiting for our leap


3 thoughts on “Climate Anxiety Counseling: Regular Shift, 5/15/15

  1. Pingback: Climate Anxiety Counseling: 5/28/15 | climateanxietycounseling

  2. Pingback: Climate Anxiety Counseling: 5/29/15 | climateanxietycounseling

  3. Pingback: Alternate Histories: 5/15, 6/7 | climateanxietycounseling

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