So I made it through week one here in Los Alamos, or at “The Lab” as some people like to call it. Turns out nbc or cbs tried to do a reality TV show here called “the lab” that everybody thought was a great idea until somebody in the federal government thought about how reality TV and top secret nuclear weapons don’t really mix well. If only the American public held that same belief. Sorry, bad joke, and a political one at that.
As you might expect this place is chuck full of nerds. Granted, like all things, there is a spectrum, but this place seems to actually put me in a pretty good light. I mean, I generally catch social cues, I don’t spend my nights playing online video games and I can even start a fire in the wilderness. Why the fire comment? Well a colleague of mine tried to tell me that to build a campfire in a national forest was against the law. Berkeley might teach people to think outside the box , but if an EMP ends modern life as we know it, the Berkeley grads won’t make it two weeks.
Truth be told I have quite a few comical stories that have come about from the “Cultural Exchange” that occurs when you mix people from, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Boston, Florida, Missouri, Utah etc etc. I would love to share them all but I don’t want to use this blog to put people in a bad light even if the stories are dang funny. I probably could get away with it since they all know I am Mormon and think I am weirder than a three dollar bill, but still I will just save them for face to face interactions.
Now onto something maybe a bit more meaningful. As one might expect, moving to a new place has got me thinking a whole ton about friends and friendships. As far as being a single LDS guy in this town goes, socially the prospects are pretty grim. The nearest singles branch is a 1:45 minute drive so me and the other two YSA age fellows attend a home ward. We have spent a little bit of time together, but they don’t seem real interested in outdoor stuff, and believe it or not I can only handle so many crazy board games that make risk look short and simple.
Now you might be asking, “Why are you limiting yourself only to LDS folks?” Well, for a start I am not, well , not entirely. I have gone to one or two social activities with the other interns, but not surprisingly, I have had to bow out of some of the activities do to reasons of faith. I will spare you the gory details, but I am really disinclined to hang out with people I don’t know or relate to, much less while those people are doing things I find to be morally objectionable.
So all this time around people that I don’t particularly love the company of, has made me think a lot towards the people I love spending time with the most. The list, believe it or not is a pretty long one. I think of the lyrics “Each life that touches ours for good” when I think of all of these people. Growing up in Logan Utah spoiled me and moving to Salk Lake caused friendships that I could never have dreamed of. The list of people that are only even acquaintances that I know would give me the shirt off their backs if I ever asked is huge. What a blessing it is to have a life filled with people like this!
But here comes my caveat, despite the blessing that this network of friends might be, I think things like Facebook, Instagram, instant messaging, and face time, might actually hinder us from really diving into our new surroundings and building up that new network as we go onto new climbs in life. In the long run my transition down here would probably be easier if I did a better job of looking forward to the new people in my life, rather than backwards to those I have left behind. Now obviously there is a balance, even as I write this I am arguing with myself as to whether or not I actually believe what I am saying. There is no doubt that the ability to stay in touch with loved ones is a blessing. My point here is not to say that staying in touch is bad but that if I am not careful, I could spend my eight weeks down here only reaching back to those back home to get through my time here and then what kind of an experience would I have.
In the end this little rant of mine probably only makes sense to me, and really only exists as some sort of self-motivation for me to both embrace both the members down here as well as the non-members I have been meeting. So for that I am sorry.
Let me just end with this. I don’t know what, if anything, long term will come of me being down here. I certainly doubt I will find a spouse, and as far a long term job is concerned that is probably equally unlikely. But I do know that the lord wants me here. He found me housing, he got me into this program, and he is giving me the strength to work with people that run against my grain so to say. I just hope that because I have been given so much, that I may too have the strength to give.