@drplasticpicker remembers: i was weaned on activism
January 23, 2020
I listened to my body yesterday. I came home from a busy day in clinic where I missed doing a telephone appointment because I had to rush off to a pediatric quality meeting. We sat at the meeting and got much more accomplished than any other meeting group that I have been a part of, but still the mollasses that is getting big corporate groups to a goal frustrates me sometimes. It’s important to listen to each other, and to take in consideration people’s opinions. But when people’ opinions are tied to what they are getting paid for, sometimes one does not know the motivation for what their opinons are. Is it some pointless politically manuevering in a different department? Is it some kind of bonus or monetary carrot or threatened budget cut that underlies that statement? Office and corporate politics are complicated when money is involved. But at least I got everyone to agree to stop the plastic water bottles at this 10 person meeting. That is 100 less for 2020. Little wins matter.
I have no headaches essentially anymore, but one was threatening to come after this meeting. It was probably not the meeting but it had been a long day. But I got home and had picked up bok choy and things that our daughter needed for a special event in her home-room class at the local Asian grocer. When I got home I hugged the kids, who were settled into their homework routine and petted the crazy black puppy. Mr. Plastic Picker had taken a rare sick half day that afternoon, as he still has a horrible cough and low grade fever. He wanted to walk along the beach. I posted on @drplasticpicker instagram account, “Found another toy for my collection. The kids in clinic go bonkers for it! Bits and pieces for my trash art. Mr. Plastic Picker came along and I think I’ve convinced him the waves and the beach can heal his bad cold. One bag collected tonight.”
And then we got home, my threatened headache was no where to be seen. I felt at peace and centered. I was proud to whip up an easy but new recipe for myself. It was a combination of having lunch with my mom yesterday, who has boiled bok choy as a side with her rice, and then my friend Usa who taught us to cook Pad Si-Ew https://drplasticpicker.com/pad-si-ew-cook-it-at-home-and-get-6-2-grams-of-fiber-and-save-12/. So I cooked partly by feel and instinct yesterday. Asian egg noddles $1.50 a package, bok choy $0.59 a pound (1gram of fiber her 100grams, 1/2 cup), a handful of dumpling we had in the freezer already. Boiled everything separately, and just threw it in the wok with some sweet soy sauce and splash of fish sauce for taste. It tasted great. $2 dollars total and made 5 servings. Wok was completley clean and kids had fruit for desert.
The kids said they were doing okay, and after finishing some lingering work messages – I went to bed. My body told me it was tired and rather than drinking coffee or tea. I just went to sleep. And I woke at at 4am and did what my body told me to do. My body was refueled and said it was ready to work and agitate.
For the last 2 1/2 hours I finished a long needed letter to a local school board about saving Bonita Vista High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. It was amazing how quickly the letter came, and how pithy my writing was. I did what I had promised the much beleugered teacher and IB coordinator there. I wrote a heart-felt letter, emailed all the school board members and the superintendent and cc’ed him. And then I emailed the local San Diego Union Tribune to see if they would cover the story or not. I was trying to drum up some press interest.
These are the best parts of the letter, “For me I care, because of what Bonita gave to me and much of that was a community and a stellar global education as part of the Bonita Vista High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. And now I heard through the Facebook grapevine that IB is threatened, and I will show up for the first time in 25 years to a school board meeting. I had been the assistant student board member I think at some point. And many of us are here today, when we could be doing other work, because we showed up to let you know and plead for you not to take IB away from the children in Bonita. Don’t take away something that works. Why would you do that? ”
“I know there are many mottos, but I’ve always thought that IB truly educates a world citizen. It creates a community of young people who will “Think Globally, and Act Locally.” In fact, if you look closely at the letters and the social media upswelling of support for BVHS IB – it is from graduates who have gone into the world and are making a difference but still GPS track their social/cultural/political/educational home to Bonita. Ms. Joy Sobel many years ago was my 11th grade IB/AP English teacher. I remember when she was helping many of us edit our college essays. She mentioned in passing one beautiful afternoon outside the 600 building, it was one of those perfect San Diego afternoons, that we were living in this very beautiful world of racial/social/ educational harmony at BVHS IB that did not exist in other places. And that when we grew up, we would appreciate what this program has prepared us to do. By giving us this perfect little world for 3-4 years, it allowed us to be stronger citizens.”
“But now you are threatening to take that away. You are not supporting BVHS IB and not supporting a hard-working teacher and IB Coordinator, Jared Phelps. I am writing as a private citizen, but as a private citizen I am very mad. I am irate that in your multi-million-dollar budget you would threaten to take one of the few things away that works for the children of this community. I help manage a large budget as well, and I know there is fat somewhere else you can trim. I hope you will do the right thing.
With my deepest sincerity and irritation at being here on a Monday night when I have a full time job and two kids at home but I care enough about IB to show up (I do not have children in the IB program so no vested personal interest).” Signed by real name.
So I will also show up at the board meeting next Monday night with a placard “Pediatrics for BVHS IB.” I will meet with a local activist along with an ED doctor who is also a leader on climate change and health, and try to figure how to make changes. I am continuing to recruit for the AAP Chapter 3 Committee of Climate Change and Health and Climate Change Now groups for San Diego. And all of this is easy and without headaches. I think it’s because it is the right thing to do, and I also forgot.
I forgot that when I was younger, I was weaned on activism. My father took us as young children to protest a totalitarian regime that suppressed liberty and religious freedoms. I forgot that when we were children, we did not go to soccer, we did not go to choir practice, we did not go shopping for fun. We stood outside holding placards shouting and agitating, and we were activist. And now I remember. Now I remember that is why I am the way I am. That is why sometimes I feel stifled in middle management, but why I feel free and right on the beach picking up pieces of plastic and trying to fix the world myself. And why I feel right agitating at the school board, and trying to organize pediatricians to make moves now on climate change before it’s too late. I was weaned on activism, and I have found my way back.