I came to know Adam by way of another recommendation from Megan, who is turning out to be a tour de force for community connecting. I met Adam for the very first time as I stepped into his home. We got to know each other over his kitchen table, surrounded by plants and Adam's homemade mallets (you'll have to ask him about those) and other contraptions - he shared some homemade ginger ale that he serves out of a thrifted and converted antique clothing press. Adam's a no-nonsense guy with a big heart and a matching capacity for caring about his community. We share a lot of the same concerns. And I'm finding more and more folks with them: working too hard for too little, not getting ahead, inflated rental prices, watching time fly by, designed obsolescence, greed, etc. What do we do about it? Coming together to talk about it is a great first step. Get to know your neighbors. Celebrate your new friendships. Understand your impact on your community. Spread love and encourage those around you. If you want some inspiration, I recommend you go visit Adam.
Note: I began this project with the intention of making 50 stories. I'm proud to say that Adam's is the 50th. I have every intention to continue and I'm already working on the next. If you enjoy this project, please share it. If you have referrals, encouragement, ideas, or constructive criticisms, please reach out to me. Thank you.
How would you describe yourself?
I like to laugh. I like to have fun. To describe yourself... I think I would be easy going.
What matters to you? What motivates you?
I think it's very basic. My interests lie in, you know, eating, (laughs) sleeping. Beyond basic physical, it just depends on what - there's curiosity based things, like wanting to get the knowledge of how to do certain things or how to solve problems. And then there's things that bother me. And that could be from anything like the plant is in the wrong corner of the room and I'll have to move it. That's kind of what motivates me. I've already given this some thought, but I've found that things that irritate me motivate me the most. But I would like to switch it (laughs) so that I have more joy-based motivation. So, things that make me happy. Not to focus on the things that bother me.
What does community mean to you?
I think, for me, community is resources. If you don't have the answer, then there's someone you know who might have the answer or can point you to that direction. Community is lifting each other up, being there to, you know, help and to teach. Because without that community or culture, then you're all alone. Then it can feel very alone. Community is just a social network of like-minded people. Or not like-minded. They're in your community (laughs) even if they don't think like you. Community's just everybody that you run into. I mean, some people you like. Some people you don't like. Some people will help you. Some people will not help you. (Laughs) You know? You've got to pick and choose. Community is a choice in more of a metropolitan town. I think in more rural, you don't have a choice. You have five neighbors and that's it. But you have to deal with that because that's your resources. But somewhere like Bend, you can pick who you want to be in your community at a large extent.
Do you have any thoughts on the decline of values?
Or, you know, building a second investment house in your postage stamp of a backyard that's just gonna crowd your neighborhood and overlook your neighbor's backyard type of thing? Yeah, I think that's greed. For sure. Bottom dollar is the motivator. I think that's the main reason we had our last economic collapse - people just flipping houses and not doing any work to make those values go up, really. Just, you know, they get their name on the title and then sell it for more. I don't think you can really base an economy on that because philosophically or karma wise, you have to work. I believe work is what really builds it up. It's hard to try to keep up or care to keep up. It just feels like all the cars on the road are new. All the houses are new. I work at a thrift store. I would never buy retail. All the things that come in... this one bag of clothes is like a thousand dollars, we're gonna sell it for ten or twenty, you know? I live in kind of a skewed economy because of that. If I didn't work at a thrift store, I'd still buy all my clothes at one. Or that kind of thing. Greed and so much waste that goes on. When I go home and see how my family's living and all the Dixie® cups and paper plates and this kind of thing that happens. I try to get 'em not to do it, but they're just in a totally different mindset. I think that they're closer to what most of America is like. So I don't know how to change that. I just try to lead by example.
How do you feel about the way we spend our time?
There's just so many things to do. I'd say that my friends would probably be in the maker group where they'll make stuff and craft and take pride in little things. I think that a lot of people don't have time for that or don't make time for that. And that makes me a little bit sad. I don't really hang out with those people, but I know they are out there because every once in a while I run into them and they work, watch TV, and go to bed. That's it. They don't go out. Or people just play video games all the time... (laughs) Dude, I love video games and things like that but I have to... in small doses. I'd love to be playing rummy with Sarah right now, but we'll get to that eventually. It is getting more and more expensive so you have to work more and, I guess, we'll spend time making things cheaper for ourselves by making our own food. The time crunch is very real. I think you gotta put your phone down or make that list of things that you want to do and start crossing 'em off because if you don't do that then your whole week will just fly right by. Years will go by. I think it's important to do things that make you happy and just block out that time for those things. For me it would be playing music or even just reading a book. Well, I'm not gonna watch that 19th episode of that show on Netflix, I'm just gonna read. You know? You just gotta try and eek out a niche for things that you like to do. It's important to volunteer and do the community things like that just to feel like you're making a dent and helping other people. 'Cause that does make you feel good about yourself. If you don't, then it will kind of eat at you, I think.
What do you wish for the future?
I'd like to see universal healthcare, I think, with vision and dental. And I'd like to get the big corporations out of our government. I think that's really putting the lockdown on the average Joe, whether he realizes it or not. When you go to Safeway and every product on the shelf is toxic (laughs) and it's the most expensive store... that's like irony to me. That's what I'd like to see - just clean food and water and air. That's the biggest thing. You don't want to poop where you eat. That's what we're doing to our planet. Talk about these trade deficits and things, I think we should stop importing plastic from China. All the garbage that we're creating... for what? Just so the plastic guy can make money? I'm sure he wants to sell as much plastic as he can. Plastic's gotta go.
We would like to get out of the debt burden of renting and living in such an expensive place. We'd like to be more off-grid maybe with a permaculture-type situation and spend less time just running back and forth to work. At a certain point, you're working but you're just hovering just to pay the bills. All that time you spend working goes just for the roof over your head and the food and it's like if the roof and the food weren't so expensive, you could have more time to work on your own projects that you want to do.