I never set out, intended, nor expected to become a representative of the environmental movement, an activist, or really anyone special at all.
As I mentioned in blogs past, I believe the most significant and positive thing we can do to be responsible citizens is to truly live each of our own individual lives as close to our own principals as we can. I believe this makes more real difference than all of the shouting, the signs, the email letters to representatives. If everyone just did their own little part, there would cease to even be a need for the grand gestures.
And yet, as it turns out, apparently living by my modest principals has propelled me into this role without my having to try.
In just the past couple weeks:
I have been offered the position of vice-president of the board of a (not yet in existence) children’s library, collectionlibrary.org/ (I am the only member of the board with neither an advanced degree nor related education and/or non-profit experience)
I was interview for a grad student’s thesis (ok, granted, those first two are somewhat related)
I was filmed by faircompanies.com and have 3 short video interviews which touch on my home, my vehicles, and my business (to be accessed via the thumbs shown above.)
I presented the awards (and gifts) to the team in Alameda county which logged the most commute miles during bike-to-work month last May (when I also volunteered, packing gift bags as well as at one of the energizer stations) at the Dublin city council meeting (the winner’s were all employees of the City of Dublin)
I had the domain I originally wanted for my website biodieselhauling.com/ (as opposed to .org) donated to me by the previous owner – despite my specifically requesting to pay for it, on the grounds of his liking what I am doing with it.
Soon I will be running yet another free bicycle parking station at a local event artandsouloakland.com/ yet another thing which I am not quite sure how I ended up doing.
And with any luck, I’ll end up a member of the Oakland Bike Patrol btceb.org/bikepatrol.php which is mostly an excuse to get me to ride my mountain bike more, but is also because, believe it or not, I kind of miss my old job as a private security guard sometimes – I actually got to help a lot of people.
You know what I always say: “Volunteering is for suckers. Did you know so called volunteers don’t even get paid?” (Homer Simpson.)
Guess I’m a sucker. But you know, its more than a little fun.
And I guess it just goes to show, it’s really true what I thought all along – you can make an impact, just by doing what you do (as long as you’re doing the right thing.)
I still feel no need to be famous. But I got to say, there is a certain narcissistic joy in having those videos out, and, honestly, would I be posting this if I weren’t reveling in it all right now?
That’s ok. I could use a break from depression, insomnia, and preoccupation with things past. Thus begins the next chapter of my life:
Bakari Kafele, The Bio-Diesel Hauler
Bakari Kafele of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition
Bakari Kafele, Collection board member
Bakari Kafele, Writer.
You know, I never thought of myself as a writer.
I guess it is my creative outlet. I never thought of myself as creative. I am not an artist, not by a long shot. I am much better at repairing things than building new from scratch. But the words in my mind, the letters are a canvass of sorts.
Looking back, I guess I have been writing all along. I guess if you write, that makes you a writer. My 4th grade teacher tells me he and my classmates all looked forward to my journal entries, which I read aloud to the class, when I was 9.
My first ever sentence (“The cow says moo”) written in kindergarten was held up as an example before the school board of the sort of work the school was producing. (There was an accompanying picture of said cow. I mentioned not being an artist. Lets just say, if I tried to draw a cow today, it would not look much different from the one I drew at 5)
I used to write a lot of fiction, I still have a box of elementary school stories in the attic of the shed at my mother’s place. Somewhere along the line I lost the ability to write decent fiction (I have tried since, believe me, feel grateful I stopped), but writing has been central to expunging the ideas in my mind all along; from heartfelt, deep and personal letters to friends in high school to an unfortunate obsession with posting to the Craigslist rant and rave section for longer than I care to admit (which was only fully cured by starting my own blog.)
But as it turns out, people actually read my narratives and essays. Why, in fact you are reading this right now! During a recent severe depression induced bout of extreme insomnia, I found it imperative that I write down the thoughts in my head, just to keep them from consuming me. Within a few days I was given a detailed break down of the artistic merits and shortcomings of my “poetry”. Just a couple days ago a former co-worker and friend I haven’t spoken to much in years commented on something I wrote many months ago – he said that something I wrote was something he had never thought about before, and he said it was an excellent point.
That is the best compliment I can get.
It makes every hour on the keyboard worth it.
Such a digression this has become! It was about being falling into the role of “green” representative. Now it is suddenly about writing? This is what happens when I don’t give myself a couple days to think and plan out my blogs, but just start typing instead.
The other thing that happens is I have no idea about how to make a good ending.