Climate Anxiety Counseling: Kennedy Plaza/Burnside Park, 6/22/17

Weather: Hot and bright

Number of people: 10 stoppers, 5 walkbys

Pages of notes: 7

Peanuts references: 2

People who recognized me, and I them, from previous years: 3

Photos taken without permission: 1

Dogs seen: 2

Rabbits seen: 1, a well-known rabbit-about-town

Total number of animals pet: 0

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $6.15



A cop SUV pulled up into the middle of Kennedy Plaza at 3:24. When I next looked over there were seven cops standing near it, talking with a short man who walked with crutches. An ambulance came up, sat for a while, and left with no sirens; I couldn’t see who was in it or how they got there. The cops left around 4:15.

As with yesterday, I had a few conversations that I didn’t get permission (for various reasons) to publish here.

Two young women carrying a sign that said “Free Water” offered me a bottle of water.

People getting on my case, either seriously or teasingly, about not being a real doctor seems to be happening more lately. On the other hand, a friendly woman having a cigarette by the fence told me I should raise my prices: “You know how they keep raising the taxes.”

Someone who’s walked by and noticed the booth twice already stopped on this day and talked to me a bit, which makes me feel like being in the same place for many days in a row is worth it because it gives people time to get used to me.


Some conversations:

I think it’s stability. Humans feel like when you get a certain age, you’re gonna have a certain stability, things are gonna happen in a certain way. Climate change affects that. Hurricanes could come—Hurricane Katrina, that was about climate change, and people had to leave their homes, they were spread out all across America. And their lives were changed long after that. I was living in Hawai’i when the Japan earthquake happened, and on the island I was living on, people from the island were not worried. They were relaxed. Everybody else was panicking, running to the stores, leaving their beach houses and moving inland. The locals went down to the beach and had a celebration. It affects different people [different ways]. Maybe older, local people, they accept it, maybe it’s religion, like God wants this to happen.


I don’t feel like I’m caring for myself, anxiety-wise. I’m always in people’s faces, always talking to and diagnosing people—it’s probably codependent. I’m bipolar, so I always get the shit end of the stick. But I can’t stop helping people … I’m not a fucking doctor. I’ve had doctors distrust me, misdiagnose me, call me a hypochondriac. There should be a league of doctors with ailments similar to ours, who know where we come from. I already know what [my illness] is. I have trouble getting people to listen. And the meds they gave me made me flip out. I was diagnosed in 2009, and the last five years I screwed myself up with charges, but in the last three years I’ve gotten better at managing it. I do breathing exercises, I talk myself out of situations I know the answer to. I know the consequences from last time, I’m in full control of the result. I don’t think [bipolar disorder] is a bad thing. There’s a lot to be learned.


What’s up with the climate? I’m new to it. I saw—before Wonder Woman I saw a movie on climate change coming up, a preview, they had Al Gore, Donald Trump—he thinks it’s a hoax. It’s real?


I got a niece but I don’t have kids. I’m gonna die, they’re gonna die, I don’t care. But you know what? Them that came before me, they fought for civil rights and shit. They didn’t do that for us to–

What worries me is, we’re going down. We were down for so long, then Obama, I didn’t like everything he did, but we were starting to go up, and we just went back. I tried to give [Donald Trump] the benefit of the doubt, but this first six months, it’s not looking good … If he says, Go to war right now, I’m gonna go—I’m not fighting for Donald Trump, I’m fighting for America. But even with Obama, they say, Oh, it’s gonna trickle down, but it never trickled down to me like that. It trickles down to people making 40 Gs, 50 Gs, not the people making 15 Gs, not the people in the housing project. He’s not starting a war with North Korea, he’s starting a war with Iraq, Afghanistan–’cause they’re poor! … I don’t like to talk politics with nobody, but I get frustrated. What’s it gonna take for me to prosper? I never prosper.


One thought on “Climate Anxiety Counseling: Kennedy Plaza/Burnside Park, 6/22/17

  1. “what’s it gonna take for me to prosper? I never prosper” i found that so moving. and an essential question.

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