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Self as Currency

I've come to feel that I'm wasting myself here. At CMU, I was a fairly useful person, occasionally informally teaching people things and often lending a hand. Not working is great for me in some ways, but I really miss feeling so useful; my knowledge is less effective when I'm on my own like this. How can I be useful to a community when I don't have a community like that? It's not just personal; the existence of a good number of people like me add value to Unix. It's not a terrible thing to be on an extended vacation, but I really liked feeling like I had a lot to offer to a lot of people. I feel diminished in this area where the only people I regularly see who might really have use for my skills are the businessdrones running tiny companies out of coffeeshops (ugh!). I want to feel needed/useful again, and to help people who are doing neat things.

Sunday was a pretty decent day. I attended a Humanist Picnic.

This is fairly far away! I got one of the nice ($11) comprehensive daypasses, and took a set of trains out to a neighbourhood called Chestnut Hill (which is apparently officially a neighbourhood, not a town. I don't consider these distinctions important though), then walked a good ways north to Fort Washington State Park for the picnic. The picnic was invisibly refreshing; I didn't realise that I was feeling good until afterwards, when I noticed that I wasn't suffocating for community so much anymore. Political conversations, artistic conversations, really good food, and some good company; it was really great to feel "among my own" (at least along one significant axis of my identity) again for awhile. There may have been a bit of oddness in that I am not as reflex-hostile to religion as I once was but some people there were. After awhile there, I got a ride almost all the way back to where I live, getting a grand car-tour of the northern reaches of the city. I've basically ruled out the Mainline (this area) as someplace I'll consider living when my lease is up here (Narbreth is still a remote possibility, but...), but some of the areas I passed through look like places that might be suitable:

  • Chestnut Hill
  • Mount Airy
  • Germantown
I'll be visiting them over the next week or two to figure out if they have the hills/coffeeshops/intellectual atmosphere/community/feel I want.

I also intend to visit Boston soon, and possibly Portland/Eugene or a few other places that might be decent to reside from mid-December of this year until (hopefully!) grad school starts next fall. I'm also up for just visiting people I know; right now I'm not really doing a lot, and this seems like a good time to travel. If anyone reading this wants me to visit, drop me a line.