I am a big fan of Proust’s story of the petits madelines. I have – and do – find his account of thought patters fascinating (while acknowledging that medical knowledge about how the brain works has expanded dramatically over the past century. I still think Proust explained best all that needs to be said).
I’ve noticed recently, that my brain appears to be addicted to this variety of petits madelines. I probably have been overly demanding, insisting on concentration and focus so that I can sprint through monographs and the like. I haven’t allowed myself very much mental free-association time - something that is exacerbated by my quite isolation and dearth of adult conversations.
Instead of sleep, my brain has been treating me to some petits madelines. One consisted of a trip back to high school and through the various pranks that one friend and I pulled off during those years. Another, randomly, of the places that my car has lived. And, then, one of my life the last time I lived in Seattle.
This led me to recall my stint with the AFL-CIO and organizing for HERE (the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union for the acronym neophytes). S pretty much ended any career I might have had as a union organizer. Nevertheless, I concluded (or my brain did – I’m not sure who was driving at that late hour) this was the last really meaningful work I did. This prompted some Internet searching this morning where I rediscovered Jobs with Justice. I highly recommend perusing the site and signing up for their e-mails. They do the typical “write your representative” campaigns, but they also mobilize the like-minded when bodies are needed (which is how I ended up joining a janitors picket at a Fred Meyer in Portland). And while the So. Cal. arm of J with J is pretty weak, S is old enough now that I can haul her along to these events.