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Posts Tagged ‘communism’

My name is Leon, like the Russian revolutionary.  I have a lot to live up to.  Most people name their children the most common names possible: John and Jason and Josh- all having nothing to do with meaning or purpose, but mostly just because they like the ring of it or the way it pairs with their last name.  But my parents named me after a man who’s convictions led him to try and change an entire country.  I’m sorry, my feet don’t fit in those giant leather shoes.  But the funny thing is that I am a political communist activist. Just not a famous/ brilliant/ ambitious one.  Which came first, the chicken or the name?  Was I named Leon because I was born destined to live in a commune and work for a political lobby group and think tank? Or do I live in a commune and work for a political lobby group and think tank because my name is Leon?  In either case, I have never lived on my own; I have never owned  even my own coffee cup, let alone a kitchen appliance; I have always rather eaten at potlucks than any restaurant; in grade school the only high marks on my report card was “Shares with others.”  Does that answer your question, or is it too much significance?  My apologies- It’s not just that I tend to go a little overboard sometimes, just jumping into a question or project; but that I am prone to diving head first into the deep end and racing to touch the bottom.

So you live in a commune.  Can you tell me more about that: how you chose it, what it’s like?

I would love to.  The commune is a very large house with 29 people living in it.  Each room and tenant is unique, and things are constantly changing.  People move in and out, guests come and go, walls get painted and re-painted and muraled and painted again, seven couches dance around the living room, and art projects are born and grow and die on a regular basis.  I chose to live here because I could never live any other way.  I couldn’t imagine a life without heated philosophical debates over how to cure a cast iron skillet; without the passionate nights of card games and wine; without wondering whose shoes found their way into the fridge and why; without long weekly meetings with vehement discussion about the brand of peanut butter to buy; without being a part of this pulsing, living web of individuals who all bring their own flavor to the table.  I read somewhere once this complaint:  “In a communal kitchen, no one has the authority to throw out the ugly mug.”  While very true, the point has been lost: it’s not about efficiency in removing (the subjectively) ugly object; but rather, the communal kitchen is about embracing what we all bring together to share, and about the process of intentionally and thoroughly examining the group’s values and goals.  Again, does that answer your question?  Or I have I gone to deep once more?

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