November 12, 2004
Today was spent in line. The county assessor's office, the department of motor vehicles, the bank, the bus--everywhere I turned, I was standing behind someone else, waiting, watching, waiting some more.
Sure, it was tedious--it was hot and sweaty and I got a little grumpy near the end--but actually, Mr. Bush, it wasn't that bad. I ran into someone I've been trying to track down for months now at the county building; I got to laugh along with the big black dude who told the skinny white kid that he'd "kick him" if he swiped a seat from my pregnant partner; I finally got to get a new photo on my driver's license (the brief flirtation with a mountain-man beard that has plagued ID checks for the last four years is finally a thing of the past); and I got to feel like I was part of something--part of a city, of a county, of a state, of a community--that was larger than I could ever be.
You talk of shrinking government, and I worry that what you're really talking about is shrinking the feeling that we're all in this together, that we each play a part in one another's fate. I worry that you're talking about removing the community that comes from sharing a joke with the guy holding line ticket number 69, or helping a stranger decide whether her ID photo would look better with glasses or without, or simply sitting among people you would never normally be around, waiting, watching, and waiting some more.
To living large,