Today Rachael told me about a dream she had. I was in it. Rachael is Real Change's Director of Advocacy and Organizing. She's been here for five years now, which in Real Change years is really more like twenty. In this scheme, I've been at Real Change for about 50 years, which seems about right.
In her dream, the staff and the board are sitting in a room talking, and everything is going fine except that we're all bobbing around in these weird sort of bouncy chairs, and every once in a while someone's chair would just sort of hurl them off into oblivion. And Rachael says, "Hey, I don't mean to be a pain, but could we get some normal chairs?" She's not sitting in a bouncy chair. She's not having any of that. She's sitting on a phone book instead.
Rather that resolve the chair situation, I start screaming at her that she's being unreasonable. I tell her that we need to go to mediation to figure out how she can stop being a problem. And she's saying, "I don't want to be a problem. I just want a normal chair!"
I tell her to stop the whining about the fucking chairs. We're a non-profit. We can't afford chairs.
No. She didn't dream that part. I'm embellishing.
Chairs figure largely in Rachael's history at Real Change. She reminded me today of another story.
When she first came to work here, she had a choice between two chairs. One smelled like cat pee, and the other was screwed up in a way that threatened permanent damage to her back. One day she arrived at work and I was assembling a new office chair. It would be the best chair at Real Change. It was hers. I said, she reminded me, that no one should have to choose between the cat pee chair and the torture chair.
That was the moment, she said, that she decided she might actually be able to stay.
But now, this. She didn't read any deep meaning into her dream, but I did. Being symbolically inclined, I got it right away.
The life of making do in an under-resourced nonprofit gets to be a drag after awhile. Eventually, you want to stop being bounced around by circumstances beyond your control. You want to be able to just do your job, and not worry about being unexpectedly hurled off into oblivion.
That's not a lot to ask for. We have one more month to our summer fund drive. We've raised about $45K toward our HUGE $140K goal. We need your help. Find out more here, or make a donation at our secure site. Please do what you can. Thanks.