During Eden, from time to time I kept a diary. This is an entry from June 2010.
As I lie here at 10 pm in my sleeping bag the night before a morning I am dreading, I question why and how I’ve got into this situation. Tomorrow, I am due to do the washing up along with fellow community member Ali, taking my turn, but I can see that a huge pile of pots are yet to be done on top of another pile of pots used for a late night brewing session. The people currently responsible for doing them have been working non-stop since 8 am today doing lots of hard work themselves, work that has also kept them from joining in the compulsory community work day at our winter site. The problem is that if they do it they will still be hard at work and if they don’t do it I will be annoyed and aggrieved by the situation.
This will be infuriated by the fact that yesterday I worked all day, doing my own community jobs alone (usually a job shared between three people) and I also cooked for the group, and picked up the job of another participant by collecting water. I worked while others relaxed and sunbathed. This, unfortunately, seems to be the nature of our community at the moment, a number of people pick up the slack for the rest.
For example — the people responsible for the washing up today also used their own time to fish and brew beer for everyone to enjoy, some other people also fish but claim it as work and dismiss any other work in the general community as they have done their part. Others talk a strong work ethic and swing axes or grunt loudly yet are quick to stop and slope off patting each other on the back for a hard day’s work, while criticising others… yet still not really having achieved much themselves. Finally, there are those who blatantly offer to work but don’t, or do a bare minimum (but not enough) and disappear to do something more interesting.
So how have / or are the wheels going to fall off tomorrow? One view being mentioned is that the reason the washing up isn’t being done is that no water has been collected. This was a problem for me also the day before and I had to collect it, and tomorrow I will become the next in line for an escalating problem. It will be my responsibility to either break the cycle (quietly or loudly) and then pick up the pieces — or join the increasing line of disgruntled people who refuse to do their work because they are dependent on tasks that others do not deliver.
How do we stop this happening in the first place so that I and others are treated fairly and have an equal opportunity to enjoy this experience? I’ll sleep on it and let you know.
11 June 2016
I took the high ground. I chopped wood; filled all the water; washed all the dishes and did ‘the walk’ (the daily walk to deliver footage and data from the previous day). It made me feel good and mostly avoided conflict in the community. I also worked at our winter site for more than three hours, completing a wall and preparing for winter. In this competition of life, I am winning…
PS I also convinced Raph not to leave… a great day in all.