This week, or weekend, I became a "certified" tour guide for Arcosanti (I put that in quotes only because there's no certificate—it's just official, that's all). Tour guides usually get paid quite well for giving tours, but because I'm a workshopper and not a resident, I'm doing it as volunteer work. I offered to do it mostly because they were short on guides and I thought I'd enjoy the work—which I do. But after the workshop I will start to get paid for it.
Having led two tours so far, I more or less have my basic tour down, with fine tweaks to be done here and there. It is very enjoyable work. I'm not a social person that way—in the sense that I am good at public speaking, dealing with crowds, or—well, being a tour guide. But this is an exception to the rule. Not only do I know a lot about Arcosanti from years (literally) of studying it from afar, but my depth of knowledge about Soleri, his theories, and my passion for the place itself gives me an edge. Similarly, I enjoy telling people about this place. It's always a new thing for someone. Even though it all becomes commonplace for you once you start living here—like anything would for a given period of time—for these visitors it is all new, exciting, and grand. Sometimes weird, and you have to console them out of their weird assumptions. I've been told we get "crazies" during the summer months. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to deal with the people looking for free sex and beer, nor those who have an automatic assumption that Arcosanti is the home for some sort of strange bloodletting cult (I'm almost tempted to lead them on in the latter case). But those are the exceptions. Most people who come here simply don't know what to expect, and it is such a radical shift from what they may know otherwise, they're so surprised from the start that they don't have any expectations.
Beyond that, I also feel it will be good for me. It allows me to get outside the bubble a bit—remind me of the fact that other people exist outside of Arcosanti. The community here is extremely small for containing all the aspects and activities of a normal "urban" lifestyle. Thus I am reminded each time of both the uniqueness and the rarity of this place when people visit and don't know anything about it. And it is a bit of a returning, as originally it was going on a tour that gave me the first and lasting impression of Arcosanti—and in a distant way, I am here because of that tour.
So it is an interesting break and change of pace, if anything. And it is yet another personally expanding experience, at best. With the perk of some extra funds, once the workshop is over.
This Blog Has a New Address
7 years ago