Tribes

Stick out right hand, shake firmly, “Hi, my name is Scyller and I like black coffee, have a scrappy gutter dog, and have lived in every time zone in the United States.”

Again… Stick out right hand, shake firmly, “Hi, my name is Scyller and I like black coffee, have a scrappy gutter dog, and have lived in every time zone in the United States.”

And again… Stick out right hand, shake firmly, “Hi, my name is Scyller and I like black coffee, have a scrappy gutter dog, and have lived in every time zone in the United States.”

That is what moving felt like after a while. To be fair, my friend Madaline pointed that out to me in one of our many intercontinental phone calls. Introducing one self at parties, networking events, socials, and work functions could not be more rote.

Adventuresome living has its advantages, but after a while, even constant movement becomes routine. For the first time in quite a while, I live in one place. The addresses on my driver’s license, truck registration, and utility bills all match.

But what about friends- real friends, not just acquaintances? Finding one’s Tribe while on the move, for me, never proved easy. Generally, it took me about 18 months before I found people with whom I shared values, interests, and ideas regarding a good time. By that time I already started packing my bags for the next adventure preparing to move.

Friends, in no way do I ask for your sympathy. I moved every time of my own volition and enjoyed every place I lived. What I can say, though, is that having your Tribe makes life considerably more fun.

Last fall my schedule slowed down a bit and I scouted around for groups with whom to identify. I still needed my weekends for research and travel. Thus, I had no interest in adopting a weekend warrior mantle. Nor did I have any interest in joining a cross-fit cult.

What I really wanted involved interesting conversations, no requirement to spend money or drink (unless I wanted to in which case I did not want any judgment heaped upon me), and like minded people who valued books, coffee, and timeliness.

This year marks the second year of our book club. Last fall and lacking all creativity, I denominated the group, GGE Book Club. I invited everyone (undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff) in the Geology and Geological Engineering Department and kicked off with a book on the Anthropocene.

My parameters for choosing books:

  • Books must be of or relating in some way to earth sciences;
  • Authors and scientists must be chromosomally balanced;
  • Books need to be easily read in about a month (except the summer book, which was considerably longer and worth it on every count);

We meet every week at a local coffee house – that also serves beer and wine. Group members arrive in various states of stress, duress, and dress. While I have a list of books taking us out to 2030, if someone has a book they would like read, they have the privilege of leading the group for the month.

Our current coffee house has a living room set up on the mezzanine. We cloister around the tiny coffee table with our books and repaste while trying not to knock drinks off with sweeping gesticulation.

This past month with so many members traveling, we put the club on hiatus until the start of term. Eventually, we will all move on to the next adventure. But for now, I look forward to settling in with my Tribe again.

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