My first day as a member of Twin Oaks

by Paxus


i have not gotten a clock for my room

i have mixed feelings about acquiring one

but i have nothing schedule for this morning


Tycho mailed me a color xerox picture of my head D-locked to the bottom of a bus at a Berlin action i stuck it up on my wall along with a poem she wrote about the real Heisenburg principals and i wonder a bit when i will be a full-time activist again


i threw my wallet into a sticky drawer in my dresser we don’t use money here my left pocket felt empty


going thru bags and boxes for other pictures to decorate my new room (last night, i removed the puppy pictures on my wall - the previous resident was 6) i found a key ring with a few keys i threw that in the sticky drawer another antique - no locks here


i thought i would weave hammocks for my first work since we do a lot of that here the shop was empty most people had taken the jigs outside to work in the sun but i wanted to listen to an old Bruce Cockburn CD from the large hammock shop library so i slipped one of the many headphones and did almost an hours work shuffling my feet to "lovers in a dangerous time"


i e-mailed for the rest of my first official morning as a member not creditable, of course E. Europe & New England nuke stuff, fundraising, love letters, the usual


i grabbed one of the many "free bikes" and pedal to lunch (basically the Am*dam white bike idea, only here it continues) there is fresh lettuce and strawberries from our garden (i had forgotten that strawberries actually do taste like something) i choose the cuscus with broccoli and black beans grab a glass of milk from our happy cows i leave the bread and tofu (both of which we make) behind


Hawina and i sit in the sun at one of the half dozen picnic tables and eat We are surrounded by perhaps two dozen dinners - ages 1 to 70 Sassafras, one of our youngest members, crawls up onto the table and seems vaguely interested in my strawberries she is so young, i think it is the color more than the taste which beckons


i play hackisack for a couple of minutes before i split i have gotten much better since being here still in the low tier compared to most folx who play here but respectable enuf for me to feel okay jumping into the games which spark up perhaps every other sunny day


i walk down to the courtyard, because my bike with a basket has disappeared and while there are others, i have bunch of papers to carry


Deborah is teaching me labor assigning a complex, elegant and archaic art which manages to take the requests of almost 100 people the needs of all of the various business and households and fuse them together in a nearly all volunteer system we schedule community meetings and milk moves, the popular garden shifts and dreaded dishwashing there are requisitions for hot tub dates and pagan sing alongs, the team constructing the new warehouse pillow shop, rope production, sawmill, elderly care sewage treatment plant monitoring, school bus drivers, road cleans, health team mtgs, building maintenance, cooking, recycling, visitor orientations and dozens of other activities


after 4 hours and a dozen notes we are finished (tho Deborah worked it for a dozen before i showed up) of the perhaps 300 assignments only one "serf" shift is unfilled (this is a kitchen or house cleaning) almost all volunteer - i am amazed


then i spend an hour teaching Deborah how to use a spreadsheet also creditable it does not matter that the motivating reason she wants to learn is so that she can sort songs and performers for the small library of songbooks which live in the compost café our smokers lounge and live music hot spot


we are in the café when Kana shows up with pizza our cheese, our tomato sauce, crust from scratch and our former happy cows are ground up on top of it my vegetarianism is waning here


Kana is a wild old man with a gray streaked father christmas beard he spent some time in a monastery i would not be surprised if they threw him out for laughing too much now he is one of our regular cooks makes beautiful walking sticks, which Deborah and i sold at a fair and plays a mean guitar and sings with a gravelly voice never thought i would appreciate country music


He has come down in one of the 3 or 4 golf carts we have for people who have trouble walking the long distances around here while he is delivering the pizza and chatting Calypso (one of our few dogs) eats most of his rice pudding which was in the gold cart there is some chiding and laughing


At dinner small wooden signs mark the pizzas "No dairy", "No Onions", "Meat" and more i sit at the regular Thursday polyamory discussion (what i used to call "open relationships") the group has been over a dozen people but dinner did not get promoted this time so just four of us chat about the forming regional poly network and whether it will work on the issues and support or if it will be more for sparking new romances Melissa brings up group intimate agreements as she was part of at another community in NYC just as the conversation gets interesting we have to break up


i have a 7 PM movement support meeting and i don’t want to be late a video about the School of the Americas (SOA) is shown (the newest residence has a nice video hall, where there are movies and some taped tv shows show three nights a week - there remains no "live" tv anywhere on the community one of the handful of prohibitions which has lasted 30 years) the short video is compelling and several communards were arrested at SOA last year there are plans to go again in November and to continue lobby work for the upcoming house vote


we spend most of the meeting talking about which projects we will support with our few thousand dollar budget which is divided between supporting members activism and giving money to existing groups (tho the tax resistance protest we are involved with gives about $10,000 mostly from Twin Oaks resistors to non- profit groups but it is separate from movement support). we cut several requests slightly but fund most of what was requested, likely creating a cash pinch later in the year Marione will do prison trainings for women, Stevik does tax resistance and gay support stuff, Ione will meet a conservative rep and bark about SOA Hawina is interested in the hunger group RESULTS Nexus wants to go to a conference on communities and space travel i will drag nuclear issues onto the agenda we talk about restarting the letter lobby i mention the success with stopping the FDA’s proposed "organic food" standard 200,000 letters of protest - some from here we finish with a quick evaluation


because i am a new member i can get 2 hours credit for movement support in the future this will be volunteer time the movement support creditable hours are generally dedicated to activities more direct than meetings


i walk thru the darkness back down to the courtyard for my date with Alex she is organizing one of the communities conferences which is just about to start we talk about using one of the expert outside facilitators from the communities meeting to run a Twin Oaks meeting we are having on business planning she fires off an e-mail and packs up her work


we walk up to her room and decide to lay on her roof looking at the stars we talk about idealism in the community i want to take over her job as recruitment manager and she has some concern about targeting young people to bring our population back up (we are down about 15 people from last year) but most of our chat is more personal we discuss the rumors which have started because we are skipping around together holding hands but she is tired so we crawl back into her window


and i realize i have forgotten my Tupelo "serf" shift so i head back to my residence and clean the house till midnight with the stereo blasting Ani i try to decide if these crumpled crayon drawings are trash or precious child masterpieces [mostly my art patron side won this tussle] (one of the reasons i choose live at Tupelo is because it has no "quiet hours")


it has been a long day but i am very satisfied it ain’t paradise but there are some similarities


Paxus at Twin Oaks Community