Radical Love Project

being in the right place

Yesterday, I spent the whole day in a room full of geeks. We do this thing called code retreat, where the food, collaboration, help, warmth, and creativity flow freely. The only requirement for admission is the desire to participate.

It’s about craft, getting better at writing beautiful code, and it’s also about collaboration. Everybody codes with a partner, and we gather and talk about it several times throughout the day. We learn from each other, and the room is just glistening with geek joy.

Ok, if you’re not a geek, you might not get that, and you might wonder what this has to do with homelessness. Well, nothing, and everything.

We moved recently, and left our friends behind in Oregon. Before we left, Tennessee wanted a promise that we would “keep doing this” when we got to Ohio. We were happy to give it, but we were wrong. We’d gone to that bridge because we were drawn there — who knows why? — and when we got to Ohio, we thought something similar would happen. It didn’t. We felt weird.

That’s for another post. But the short version is that once we let go of our assumptions about what we were supposed to do, we found out what we were really going to do. And that involves geek joy, and actually loving geeks in the places where we love to be, here, and now.

Another code retreat, under a bridge of sorts

So that stuff, loving geeks in the world, matters. I stand by that. But there are some geeks who weren’t there yesterday who I’m particularly fond of, and who I missed.

They were at the last code retreat I attended, but they couldn’t come to this one, because it wasn’t held in the prison where they live. Coding in prison is a lot like coding outside prison, except for, you know, the prison part.

Dan Wiebe, who organizes the prison code retreats, has been after me to blog about what they’re like, and I haven’t done it. Why? Because I don’t know what to say. They’re like… hanging out with my friends, writing code, learning from each other.

It sounds like I’m saying the guys in prison are no different from us outside folk, doesn’t it? I’m not, actually. The guys in prison take less for granted. They’re slower to anger, and they don’t live under the delusion that they’ve never made a mistake. They remind me of the way I aspire to be.

Posted by Angela under stories
Monday, April 11, 2011

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