I love a spontaneous Work Party–even love the words work and party, juxtaposed. I admit it gives me a thrill when I witness or am part of a group that forms in response to an emergent problem, as opposed to the well-thought-out approach, with the benefit of heads-up planning. The spontaneous Work Party that I find delicious is organized by a few people who round up the troops and aim to “git’ er done”–because they know they simply cannot do it alone.
Of course there are more qualified organizations and leaders among us who could better address the successful formation of organized WORK PARTIES for any number of problems (consider the Red Cross, or the Mormon Church, for instance and their response to Katrina). This entry is not about Big Organized Entities; I am talking about the work parties which are hands on, in the moment and create community.
The paradox about work is that, without it, there is little meaning in life. The “party” that follows work would not be nearly as much fun without having first done the work itself. And while the maxim goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, the reality is much closer to, “all partying and no work makes a VERY DULL LIFE.”
A fine Work Party requires minimally two things, both of which were present on our block last garbage day:
1. A Problem
2. Multiple People Who Are Willing To Give Up Their Time Toward Solving It
To set the scene: The wind was BLOWING: 60mph gusts.
One neighbor man saw the problem first: our mutual neighbor’s GARBAGE was blowing everywhere! HE PICKED UP THE WORST OF IT. (Thank you, Mr. D!)
Then another neighbor woman saw the same problem recurring and talked with the man about it and they knocked on the door of the neighbor whose garbage was decorating the block with unmentionables. When the knock was answered, A WORK PARTY WAS BORN: inside that home were enough teenage boys to fill a large van, all geared up to go swimming! Now… HOW to motivate them…
“Is motivating a group of teen aged boys anything like herding wild stallions?” you might ask. Yes, it is. But once you do, they GIT ER DONE!
On this wicked blowing wind garbage Monday, there were Runners, Relayers, Communicators, Sweepers, Garbage Picker-Uppers and Garbage Runner-Afterers.
Sure, there may have been a couple Lazy Bones(es) and Avoiders–those who stayed indoors–but even these young men play a role in the drama and advance the plot by bringing home “the moral of the story”: YOU MISS OUT when you miss a WORK PARTY.
Whilst the garbage man was en route, Big Brainy Leadership was brought ONLINE and Work Party resources were mustered: floppy receptacle lids were secured, gaping bags were tied, receptacles were righted, or laid down, as wind direction dictated.
EVERY young man who heeded the call did EVERYTHING asked of him. Some some ran after the garbage truck to see if he would make a second pass. One young Mensch even swept broken rocks off the street when he was asked!
When the last receptacle had been emptied by the diligent sanitation worker, hands were shaken, pictures and videos were taken, and leaders exchanged names and contact information. (It was discovered that both hold bachelors degrees in sociology. Wha’d'ya know!)
It was a good day, albeit windy, but then again, what’s a Work Party for, if not a windy garbage day with plastic bins?
Work! Party! Work! Party!
What life in the neighborhood is all about.
Here is one pic (with the heads cropped out, necessitated by the absence of permissions from parental units of minors).