A note from Ian on his provided photo:
"The photo I chose was taken on my road trip from Seattle to Duluth at sunrise in the Sierra Nevada. In many ways my summer was defined by solitude, transition, and the feelings that usually go along with tumultuous periods in one's life: Personal growth and reckonings combined with isolation and struggle. About 8 months removed from when I took this photo, I am struck by how much my car meant to me during this time. It was my home for two weeks and a companion on adventures in Seattle, on the road, and during my exploration of my new home in Duluth. In many ways, my car was one of the few constants in my life during what was a rich yet difficult period as I worked through challenges with community, home, mental health, and adjustment. In fact, my car still means a lot to me as a means of mobility and the enduring fantasy of packing it all up and moving on to the next adventure should my current situation prove to be too much.
As a reflection of this, I included a photo of my morning breakfast routine, which became one of my favorite traditions on the road. I would wake up, set up my french press, lay out my oats and oatmeal fixings, and boil water. Lacking a table and usually prepping my meal at backwoods pull off in a National Forest, everything usually ended up on top of the trunk of my car. A morning breakfast buffet fit for a simple dirtbag trying to figure things on the road. In particular, this morning in the Sierra Nevada sticks out in my mind for its beautiful setting, warm sunrise colors, and peaceful stillness high in the mountains."
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Laney Zuver [00:00:13] My name is Laney Zuver, and you're listening to another interview from my project, 2020 Summer Stories. This interview features Ian Mundy. He spent his summer in Seattle, Washington, and then traveled to Duluth, Minnesota. We discuss these travels and his experience working for City Year during a pandemic.
Ian Mundy [00:00:33] My name is Ian Mundy. I'm twenty four. And then I spent the summer between kind of like Seattle on the road and then Minnesota. Yeah. I guess to start with, it was a pretty turbulent time for me. So starting in May, I came back to Seattle in like late April, I guess from being home due to covid. Seattle was kind of like a hotspot. So I left and went home for like a month and a half. And then I went back to Seattle to kind of finish out my term of service service with City Year. So I was kind of like in Seattle for a while, mostly just hanging out, doing online work for city year, which is kind of weird.
Ian Mundy [00:01:18] I had like a lot of good relationships with the kids I was working with in the school there. And then it was like online. It was kind of weird, like not really seeing them at all. So it was pretty strange work, but not a lot of it, which was the benefit. So I had like I think we were required to do like eight hours a week between helping our partner teacher, different trainings, that kind of stuff. So I had a lot of free time. So I'd just like wake up a lot of times and just like read and drink coffee for a while. It was actually pretty lovely. And May and like June and Seattle are really, really beautiful months there. And it's just like the foliage. There's like Seattle I did not realize was so green. There's just like a lot of really pretty flowers. Yeah. It was like it was kind of nice, very pretty relaxing time. But I think like through a lot of it, there's also this kind of impending doom a little bit because I was getting ready to move to Minnesota to start my job that I currently work with the EPA. So that was also it I kind of this like very I guess in retrospect, I a very conflicted time because it was kind of, in one sense, very relaxing, not a lot of work, not very stressful in that sense, but also very stressful because I was trying to figure out if I even for the first part of it, if we're starting May 15th, like for the first part of the summer, I was kind of trying to figure out if I even wanted to move to Minnesota, if I would even take that job and definitely contemplated like just like not just like packing my car up and driving home some sort of dramatic thing.
Ian Mundy [00:02:54] So that was that was tough. I was also in a pretty close romantic relationship at the time, and so then I was like getting ready to end that relationship when I would leave, which just sucks. Like having, like, an expiration date on your relationship is like it's like the worst. That was pretty rough. But yeah, June, going into June was really nice. I got some good hikes in yeah, it was really warm, which I think now I think about more because Minnesota is pretty cold. Duluth in particular is really cold.
Ian Mundy [00:03:24] So I think about Seattle as like in my mind it sticks out as like a particularly warm place, even though I don't know if that's totally true or fair. Anyhow.
Ian Mundy [00:03:35] June 30th was when my lease was up and I moved. So that morning I packed all my stuff up and have like a very sad, kind of emotional goodbye with my then girlfriend. So that was pretty rough.
Ian Mundy [00:03:50] Um, and then, yeah, that was a pretty weird morning, actually, because I also went and got coffee with the janitor at my school. It was like super nice. And so I just been like crying a lot and like really sad and tired. And then I was like, all right. I guess like I said, I would get coffee with them before I left. Honestly, he kind of brightened my whole day a little bit.
Ian Mundy [00:04:12] He's like a really funny guy. His advice was that I should, upon moving back to Seattle whenever I did, eventually I should buy a weed plant and start farming weed.
Ian Mundy [00:04:25] So maybe that's in my future someday.
Ian Mundy [00:04:29] And then I was on the road for a while, for about two weeks, I guess, I drove down from Seattle through Oregon, stopped at Crater Lake, drove over to the California coast and saw the redwoods. And then I drove down to like Lassen Volcanic Park on the road alone was kind of a weird experience, just like kind of every day, like waking up in a tent alone. You get in the car, put on a podcast. I talk to myself a lot in the car, which I talked myself away anyhow. So it wasn't really that weird, but I wasn't going that crazy. But I got really angry at my phone's GPS a few times, developed kind of a fun rapport with Siri.
Ian Mundy [00:05:11] And then I did have kind of a weird night. The one night from that really sticks out was my car kind of broke down. I was leaking transmission fluid for a while. And so, like, every time I stopped, there'd be this little puddle, like under my car or the transmission fluid was coming out. And also the coolants I'd like keep refilling it. And then eventually I got to Carson City after crossing the Sierra Nevada and I was like, oh, I was talking to my dad and he was like, hey, you should just bring that to mechanic, like, get it looked at. Because the next day I was going to drive across Nevada and there's just like nothing there for so long. And so not a great place to break down. And so I brought it in and they had to fix it. And so I had to just like spend the night there in Carson City just like this random night in Carson City. And it just felt so weird.
Ian Mundy [00:05:57] It was like this weird kind of, I don't know, almost like an out of body, out of narrative experience, just like because I had to get my stuff out of the car and I had my little backpack on and I was just like wandering through Carson City.
Ian Mundy [00:06:11] And then I eventually Ubered up to this state park and spent the night there.
Ian Mundy [00:06:15] So that was kind of weird, just being like, all right, I guess I'm just here, you know, Carson City. Yeah. And I finished the drive. I went through Utah and Colorado. And then I, I spent maybe like a week in Ohio with Bronwen.
Ian Mundy [00:06:32] So that was really nice, like at the end of the trip after like a lot of turbulence to see familiar faces and, like, hang out there.
Ian Mundy [00:06:40] So that was really good. Yeah, I got to hang out with Browen's family a lot. They're really great. So I love them kind of second family. So that was nice. And then I drove up here. Yeah. And then it's I've been in Minnesota since then.
Ian Mundy [00:06:58] It's been it's been all right. I think it's been a time of like... It's been difficult. Definitely. I mean, I won't I won't sugarcoat it.
Ian Mundy [00:07:07] It's like pretty weird time to, like, move to a new city. There's just a lot of change at once. Like, I always was thinking like starting a new job is kind of stressful and weird. Moving is kind of stressful and weird. Breaking up with like a long term relationship is kind of weird and then doing all of that together, like during a pandemic.
Ian Mundy [00:07:25] And it's just I think in many ways it's been hard to kind of see the potential in Duluth because people are always like, oh yeah, I was like a really great live music scene. Like, Oh yeah, there's like all these cool running events and they're all canceled this year just like, oh, cool.
Ian Mundy [00:07:38] We'll see. I don't know.
Ian Mundy [00:07:41] So it's been kind of difficult to meet people for sure. I think like the first month for sure. It was like a lot of like days when my roommates weren't around where I just I couldn't really talk to, like, a person during the day because I was just working from home a lot, reading papers, mostly busy work, just waiting for lab to open up and we could go in. So that was really slow.
Ian Mundy [00:08:03] I think a turning point was I started like meeting up with one of my coworkers to discuss papers that we had read and that was just really great to have, like a contact friend, kind of like, oh yeah, I work with people and they're actually they're like, all right. Kind of cool people. There's like, yeah, community there.
Ian Mundy [00:08:22] So that was good. And then I've also just kind of gotten out and about a little more, met some folks, kind of like at different things, like volunteering for work, that kind of stuff. So it's been like upward trajectory since then. And then now I think the two big things are like I run a lot and I bake a lot. Those.. It's probably like what I do now for the most part, I think that's kind of like what I've done to stave off, like, crippling depression. I really yeah, I have done I was kind of like running a fair bit and I signed up for a 50K race and that happened like maybe three weeks ago. And then like last weekend I did another long kind of 50K run and yeah. I don't know what I'll stop.
Ian Mundy [00:09:09] I think I just need to run in order to be OK right now and I think that's that's all right. Something to break down with my therapist I guess you know which you know, I know there's a lot of things to break down added to the list. Yeah, and I think it's also been I think in general, like being in Seattle and also being here, like maybe it's a larger postgrad team, but I think it's become more in focus since being in Duluth and kind of like ... like a lot of transition and kind of like a difficult transition is just like being more aware of, like, my own mental health and things around that. So that's also been kind of a reckoning for my summer. That's kind of how my summer went, for the most part.
Laney Zuver [00:09:53] I wanted to start at the beginning of Ian's story and have him walk me through what city year was like for him.
Ian Mundy [00:09:59] Yeah, so dope. I love City Year. I really wasn't sure what kind of experience I was going to have because I've never lived in, like a big city. And I also don't really have an interest in teaching or like education. And I didn't realize that, like, the crowd there was going to skew that much towards, like education folks, which makes sense in retrospect. I'm like yeah, of course. But yeah, it was pretty it was pretty interesting. I think, like, I don't ... I didn't think I was going to really enjoy working with the kids as much as I did. I miss it a lot now, especially because I have a job where I don't it's not like a... A teaching job, which doesn't involve, like, as much human interaction. It's pretty. It's like science. It's kind of cold or maybe a little more sterile. And so, yeah, I definitely I miss that aspect of it. And just having I think the kids have like a lot of curiosity and just energy and passion for life that's really just energizing, even though obviously they can be like exhausting little brats sometimes. But then I think, like on a broader level, I sit here as an organization is also really cool. And City Year Seattle was really dope. There's kind of city or Seattle is kind of like leading City Year in terms of like declaring themselves like an explicit, like youth centered anti-racist organization. And so there's like a lot of focus on race and equity in education.
Ian Mundy [00:11:18] And the Seattle Public Schools is actually like a very segregated school district. And it's kind of easy for people to ignore because Seattle has this reputation as being this kind of like fancy Amazon white city.
Ian Mundy [00:11:28] And it's really just because, like, a lot of people have been, like, marginalized and just pushed out of, like, the kind of ritzy areas. And so that was really interesting, I think, having like an understanding from classes and college of like, oh, like institutional racism and like structural racism. Like, this is what it looks like.
Ian Mundy [00:11:49] And then I think it was just cool to see that kind of eye opening to then be at an organization where, like, people are kind of like actually doing the work. And so there's just like a lot of really inspiring community leaders. And some people like both people outside of city who came in and talked to us that like race and equity summits, which were like these like monthly meetings we e had to like just talk about different themes around like race and equity and then also people within city Year are just like, really cool, just like very inspiring people. And so I think that has kind of changed maybe a little bit of my perspective on my life and career a little bit. And I think it also it makes it difficult in some ways to transition to working in a lab because it's very devoid of like that focus and science in particular. It's like pretty apolitical. And there's kind of a reluctance to, like, engage in that kind of dialog and that kind of work, even internally within the EPA. So, yeah.
Laney Zuver [00:12:49] My next question for Ian was on the topic of his travels. I wanted to know, did he have much covid anxiety during his trip?
Ian Mundy [00:12:56] Not too much. Yeah, not too bad. I stopped for gas occasionally and then otherwise I was kind of just on my own. So, no, not too bad. I think much less than I ended up, I did like fly home to Seattle and back pre... I guess, outside of the time frame. But like before, that's like when I came back to Seattle, like late April, right before summer. Yeah. That was more, I think, than than this. Thank the drive.. the drive was pretty cool. Yeah. Yeah. Some of it was kind of messy. I, I was like, well I'm not going to like ... I did zero planning.
Laney Zuver [00:13:31] I then followed up this question by clarifying if he was just camping.
Ian Mundy [00:13:35] So I was Forest Service camping. I'm just trying to take my car, drive out of the National Forest and just pull off somewhere and set up a tent, because I guess my understanding is like that's legal in any national forest. So I was just doing that. There were a couple really late nights of trying to find a spot to camp. One night in in Colorado in particular, I like got down from hiking and I really wanted to hike of 14-er, like I want to like get up and see the Rockies. Like, I've never really hiked in Colorado. So I got to where I was going to spend the night in Colorado late. So I didn't start hiking until like seven. I didn't get down to like 11.
Ian Mundy [00:14:12] And then I had to I was like trying to find a spot to sleep until, like, I went to bed at like 2:00 in the morning, like, because it was a dark times. So it wasn't smooth across the board. But I did camp kind of just wherever.
Laney Zuver [00:14:29] Then I wanted to hear if you had any interesting encounters with people along the way.
Ian Mundy [00:14:34] Yeah, I'm trying to think there was one guy I remember at Crater Lake and he was like, I got down from hiking and he saw my license plate and he kind of came over and chatted. I forget his name. It was nice. He was from I think he was from South Carolina because he was like, oh yeah, like East Coast license plate.
Ian Mundy [00:14:52] And I was like, oh hell yeah. And he had done a really cool he's doing like this insane road trip.
Ian Mundy [00:14:58] He was driving like I think he drove through Colorado and then like down from like South Carolina and then like down through like Joshua Tree and then was going up the West Coast and then was going to go across through like Glacier National Park in Montana. And then like he was kind of doing like this horseshoe like around the country. [Laney] Wow. And yeah, he was on an epic road trip. So that was pretty cool to talk to that guy. Yeah, I'm trying to think, oh, there is one other guy that sticks out. I was hiking down in Colorado. I was hiking down at the mountain and I saw the same person who I had... He had been coming down when I was going up. And then when I was going down, he was going back up again and I was like, "oh, you're going back up?" And he's like, "Yeah, it's like this birthday challenge I'm doing." And he just kind of like motored off. And I was like, whoa, what what what's this? I just ever since then, I've kind of been curious, what's with the birthday challenge? Yeah, like, I don't know, because there there's like a very tall mountain there. Maybe he was just doing it like a dozen times because he was twenty four or something. I don't know. I'm just always curious what he was after and it just seems I was also kind of just like man, I want to hike with this guy who's, who is out here at like midnight. I'm not doing some sort of birthday challenge.
Laney Zuver [00:16:25] I mentioned that a lot of people might be jealous that he got to travel during a pandemic when so many folks were stuck at home.
Ian Mundy [00:16:32] Yeah, yeah, I think I mean, at the best of times, I was really I would kind of think to myself, like, this is the life when I was born to do, because there is a very liberating element of it where you're just waking up and you say, OK, where am I going to drive today? What beautiful thing am I going to see today? The landscape just keeps changing as you kind of move down the coast and you cross mountain ranges. And so, yeah, that was really nice. I think it was in some respects, kind of kind of a nice escape from, you know, thinking about Seattle and like when I was leaving behind there. And I think that was... I guess that was a healing is maybe like a strong word, but it was like there was a kind of an element where it was definitely what I needed. And I think it was also just kind of a fun confidence booster, I guess, to do it alone, even though there are times when I was definitely just like tired and lonely. But yeah, I think it was kind of cool to to do it all alone and just drive.
Laney Zuver [00:17:32] I wanted to know why out of all the hobbies he could have chosen, baking brought him the most enjoyment.
Ian Mundy [00:17:41] I have actually thought about this a little bit. Yeah, there's a lot of elements of it.
Ian Mundy [00:17:46] I think the first is that baking is something that's been kind of building in my life for like since I graduated. I think like I didn't really cook for myself a whole lot when I was in school.
Ian Mundy [00:17:59] And I certainly didn't really bake. I just had this image always of baking is really difficult and time consuming. Like if you want to make your own bread, you can. But that's just so hard. And then I come to find out it's really easy and it actually makes delicious food. So I think that's been kind of one part of it is just like discovering food preparation generally, whether it's like baking or pickling things, making different like spreads and just kind of like the endless possibilities and that aspect of it.
Ian Mundy [00:18:33] I think there's another side of it, which is I love the chemistry of it. I think it really kind of speaks to me in some way there. I love baking in particular. I love, like the activity of leavening and the activity of yeast and fermentation. Or if you're making a cake, there's the baking soda. And I think I have actually thought about this because I think, you know, in chemistry you do reactions and you kind of like work with chemicals and reagents and all that stuff, and you never really see them. You don't see, like, the reaction happening, you just like every especially in organic chemistry, like everything you make is just like this white powder, all super boring.
Ian Mundy [00:19:14] I think baking is this opportunity to kind of like.. It's a little more it's more tactile.
Ian Mundy [00:19:20] You're working with it. You're kneading the bread, you're using your hands more, and you're seeing those changes.
Ian Mundy [00:19:27] And you can feel the changes like I know chemically, like gluten is developing because water is like interacting with these, you know, gluten and galiden like these two subunits.
Ian Mundy [00:19:37] But then I kind of like look at the molecules that are great, but then it's different and you can really feel the gluten develop, but you can feel the gluten is relaxed. And I think that kind of is... Is just like this way to interact with... It's almost just like a different way to interact with chemistry.
Ian Mundy [00:19:53] I remember in undergrad when I was on like the like a search committee for an organic chemistry faculty member, we would always ask kind of, what do you like to do in your free time? And they all three of them mentioned, like the Great British Bake Off, they all watched it. And I think if there's something we do about baking that speaks to chemists some way, maybe they're also just like coming out of postdocs and PhDs are really stressed that maybe it's biased in that way too.
Ian Mundy [00:20:22] Yeah, I think there's something there. And then I think the final element of it, the I guess I've thought about is I'm not I'm not very good at, like, drawing.
Ian Mundy [00:20:32] I guess I've never I don't have, like, a natural eye for it not to say that I can't, like, work at it and get better, but like, I guess the conventional conventional arts, like drawing watercolor painting, ceramics are I'm not I don't possess much ability in those. And so... At least inherently. And so it's very difficult, I think, because I'll have like a vision artistically for what I want to create, but I can't translate it into what I want. Like, I can't make my hand draw the line on the paper the way I want it to. And I think with baking, I do have that. Like, I feel like I can translate like a vision for like, oh, so cool and make this bread with these spices in it and I can translate that into the bread that I want.
Ian Mundy [00:21:17] And so I think there's an element of kind of like creative agency to it that's feels very empowering and as an outlet of creativity. So I think that I really I think like after now that I'm kind of especially in like a job that's maybe, I don't know, like has less kind of human interaction is kind of a little bit more static and more kind of like focused.
Ian Mundy [00:21:40] I really thought more about kind of the importance of like creating. And I think it's just like a basically like a requisite for like living like I don't think you can be alive. It's like breathing and like drinking water. Like you either create or you, like, slowly wither away and die.
Ian Mundy [00:21:55] That's kind of I think baking is maybe just something that during a time in my life when I really needed to not wither away and die, like maybe I'm slowly withering away and dying in other aspects of my life, something to kind of latch on to.
Laney Zuver [00:22:08] At this point.
Laney Zuver [00:22:09] I asked the question I ask in most of my interviews, what media was he consuming over the course of this summer?
Ian Mundy [00:22:15] I think a decent.. I mean, for news a decent bit from Twitter, I guess. I also I mean, yeah, I also follow I guess I get like articles from Jacobin via Facebook. So, yeah, a lot of stuff like that. And then yeah I think sometimes it's like for, for news, it's like I'll like read something on Twitter and then I'll be like, is that real? And then I'm like, look it up. So, yeah, I don't know if I have the most reliable news sources there as far as news consumption, but yeah, it's kind of, I think, a decent bit of Twitter time just because it's so easy, like working from home and then being on these, like, mind numbing training calls to get hours, just bust out the phone and like, oh, OK, you know, what's going on. For books and movies and stuff, I guess, like, you just kind of just go, yeah, yeah. For books, I got a couple of books. I was like pretty into that, one of which I really need to finish. I was reading The Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galiano, which was just like, yeah, I mean, I get read more about Latin American history generally for a long time. There's also this memoir by Primo Levi, who's like a chemist, and it's... It's called The Periodic Table. It's like about kind of his life in relationship to chemistry. So I was definitely I think I miss that period, too, like when I was in Seattle in particular, because I have more opportunity to read kind of just very... A lot of time on my hands. Yeah. And then TV show movie wise, a lot of Great British Bake Off. I have... I watched it and then I started re-watching it. Just.. I just really like it. I don't know. It's so, it's so pleasant and so nice. I did watch a decent number of movies too. There was about a week where I like just kind of was pretty sad and like watched like a movie every day. But there are some good movies sprinkled in there. Yeah. The one that has like really stuck with me after the fact was this movie by Soviet filmmaker Andre Tarkovsky, and he made it like while he was dying of cancer. And it's called The Sacrifice. And it's kind of like this meditation on like life. And I don't know. Yeah, that one has really stuck with me for whatever reason. I think maybe in relation to climate change, it's kind of about like nuclear apocalypse. And so I always I kind of reconceptualized that my mind around, like present annihilation.
Laney Zuver [00:24:54] I change topics once again to ask if he was aware of the Black Lives Matter uprising in Seattle and what that looked like from his perspective.
Ian Mundy [00:25:03] Yeah, I guess I kind of forgot to mention all that. Yeah, I almost forgot when that was. It feels like that was earlier, but I guess that was no, it was it was interesting to be there. I think I'm really glad that I was in Seattle when things were happening. I remember like the first weekend that there are protests kind of just going out. It was less organized, kind of more frenzied people just like in the streets. And so I was kind of just there to, like, take it in, bear witness, watch. And then that kind of coalesced around like these protests outside of this police precinct in Capitol Hill. And so there was about a solid week where it was like every night I was just like, all right. I guess I'm just like going out to the protests over there tonight. And I would just kind of drive up to Capitol Hill and Park and go back down and and join the protest for the evening. And I think that was definitely it was kind of eye opening. Yeah. Like, it's different. It was different than watching it on TV for sure. I think it kind of changed the way I feel in that, not in that like I have always kind of like hated police. Like I'm not I'm like, yeah, like let's, you know, abolish cops. Right? Like, they didn't change my political beliefs, I guess. But it definitely kind of changed the way I am willing to, like, engage in dialog with others about it. Like I think when my parents, for instance, maybe they're like or like my dad in particular.
Ian Mundy [00:26:30] was like "Well, you know, we got to have them, though," and kind of be like, "no, we don't" like I'm like, I don't know, like "you do you do realize that, like, that could be like, you know, when you're watching those images on TV of people getting shot with rubber bullets and tear gas like that could be one of your kids out of a protest like getting maced in the face."
Ian Mundy [00:26:50] Like, no, like, you know, I don't know, just like. Yeah, but that is not there's not room for, like, equivocation and kind of this this, you know, I don't know, like, I don't know. What are you going to do. Like, no, I'm like I'm fully over that. Yeah. I definitely went off to my parents a couple of times about it and then I, you know, they're like supportive of the of I am, you know, and they're more or less feel the same, like they're not that far from where I like me and my siblings are.
Ian Mundy [00:27:18] But they're like still not quite there. And so, yeah, I think it's kind of changed my perspective on it in that way and kind of the way, you know, people say, oh, it's like a standing army, you know, like we have like this domestic army in our in our own nation. And then being like at like a protest and seeing like these like lines, lines and lines of like cops all with like gas masks and batons and like just like riot gear like and the National Guard is like behind them. And you're like, oh, it really is like that. It really like it looks like an army. It feels like you're squaring off against an army really just like solidified
Ian Mundy [00:27:59] I think a lot of that in my mind. And I know people talk about like, "oh, like I was young once and now I have different politics" and that I don't think that'll happen to me anyhow. I hope not. But that will definitely never change.
Ian Mundy [00:28:14] Like, I think my views on police are like locked in.
Ian Mundy [00:28:17] Yeah, it was good to be to be there. And I think it was also hard because that was like as I was contemplating leaving Seattle and being a part of the protests also kind of made me feel a lot more connected to Seattle as a city and as a place and like kind of as a community. And so that was also kind of a difficult aspect of it. And then after about a week, the police abandoned the precinct that they it was like on the on 12th Street or 12th Ave. The abandoned it and it became... People like texted me about a couple of times it became like Chaz, which is like the Capitol Hill autonomous zone. And so that kind of like the protests there really weren't like that many after that, like there would be a kind of like sporadic like organized rally event, more like official thing. But it wasn't like this like nightly thing, I guess, in the same way, because the police presence wasn't there to, like, square off against and it actually was pretty cool, Chaz has turned into like this, uh, it's hard to describe. I mean, there's like very felt like a very free space. The there's a lot of, like, graffiti and kind of like free artistic expression, which was pretty neat. And a lot of like people just supporting each other, like there is a lot of food donations and people with medical experience signed up for the street medic shifts. And that kind of stuff became kind of a safe place for people experiencing homelessness to go and spend the night. And so then they also, like that, tore up a big portion of this nearby park and planted like a lot of crops like this community garden, just like cropped up with this massive community garden, just kind of came into being overnight. That was pretty cool. And ultimately, I think the organizers kind of ended up abandoning like it kind of fizzled after some time and, I also did feel conflicted, like I didn't go there as much, I didn't feel like that comfortable sometimes going there because it had kind of a bit of a party vibe, like it felt like, oh, yeah, like we did it like and there's just Seattle still. It's also in Capital Hill, which is like a very white, pretty affluent area of the city and where a lot of young, wealthier folks live. And so the demographics skewed pretty white. And so even though it was like a space that was organized by people of color, it definitely still felt a little strange and almost like self-congratulatory to be walking around with a lot of other white people. And, you know, I don't know kind of this feeling of like, well, I don't know. This is like one precinct that they abandoned. There's like still feels like there's a lot of work to be done.
Ian Mundy [00:30:45] And also just like, you know, work to do on yourself, like decolonizing your own mind and that kind of self work. So, yeah, I felt kind of conflicted about it after that.
Laney Zuver [00:30:57] I finished by asking if the wildfires that occurred on the West Coast had any impact on him as someone who formerly lived there.
Ian Mundy [00:31:05] Yeah, I guess I was. I mean, I was here. We did get some smoke from a little bit. So we got yeah, we got like kind of this haze a little bit.
Ian Mundy [00:31:14] Not too bad, I guess. I mean, I was not compared to elsewhere. No, it was a little weird because I still like you know, I know some people now in Seattle just seeing the images.
Ian Mundy [00:31:26] Yeah. I mean, obviously I didn't feel super great. There was a part of me that I was kind of like, well, if we're going to have climate change, at least that's kind of a cool asthetic. Like it looks cool. At least, you know, kind of the the Blade Runner vibe. At least it looks good. Pretty, pretty depressing, though, for sure to see that. And I mean, I guess it's it's one of those things, too, that retrospectively is maybe something you don't really comprehend until it's like at your doorstep or in your country.
Ian Mundy [00:31:57] Because I know I forget when maybe like last... Like the summer before or two years before, like the Amazon rainforest. Sure. It was like an Amazon. Everything is like bigger there. So I'm sure whatever the scale was in the United States for our forest fires, it was like ten times worse down there.
Ian Mundy [00:32:15] And that kind of made like a limited splash. So there's also maybe an element of kind of. Yeah, hypocrisy to to be like, oh, my God, I don't know, climate change. And it's like, well, I guess it's been happening. Australia was burning really badly, too. But yeah, it definitely I mean, I think it definitely fuels my kind of climate existentialism that I go down a fair bit. Yeah, I mean, I think it's just like it's like the dominant like issue for it or will be for, you know, like a few hundred years, probably be like every generation will kind of conceptualize themselves in relation to to climate change.
Ian Mundy [00:33:02] And I remember reading there's like an article about covid, and I was talking about how it covid kind of signals the end of like the 9/11 era, because this is like kind of now like the new like thing like this, like water watershed moment or water mark in like history, I think, like climate change would probably dwarf all of that.
Laney Zuver [00:33:24] Thanks for listening and be sure to check out more stories at Woosterdigital.org slash 2020 summer stories.