Saturday, January 8, 2011

Keep Up Keep Up Keep Up Keep Up

Artwork by Melissa Severson
It's not apathy. Advocates and elected officials and people actively trying to make change in the world often feel frustrated by the apathy of the very people they are trying to help. They're wrong. It's not apathy.

We, the People, are just trying to keep up.  A wrong charge appears on a credit card bill. Drop everything and spend six phone calls and three repeat faxes to fix someone else's mistake. The county misfiles a form and we have to refile three more forms in triplicate to fix the government's mistake. The kids run mud through the freshly cleaned rugs an hour before guests arrive. Drop everything and fix the kids' mistake. The wrong quantity is shipped to a client because of sloppy handwriting. Spend hours and dollars fixing our own mistake.

That's just the sliding backwards work that We, the People, must manage. Then there's the moving forward work: taking that extra class once a week to maintain a license; research roofing contractors before there's a leaky roof next spring; interview senior centers for our parents; interview babysitters for our kids; swallow a cup of coffee while watching morning news - yup, got a new governor - okay time to warm up the car. Drop in a load of laundry before leaving the house, make a mental note to get those bottles to the recycling at the grocery store, and oh, God, we forgot to drop off the drycleaning - what the heck are we going to wear for the interview?

God bless those non-profits activists and elected officials that are trying to save the environment, create jobs, establish a new agency, fix social security, and think of all those things We, the People will eventually need. But if you really want us to participate, get rid of the triplicate forms. And we don't just mean paper.

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