I am a pretty lucky person. Not only am I gainfully employed when friends have already been let go, had hours cut, or are expecting the axe. In fact, I have several jobs. I have "options" as some people would say, and I do not forget my good fortune in that respect.
But, one of the things I do is work in a municipality. Public service. Local government. The bottom rung on the political food chain. It's a great place though. The community is quite affluent, and the landscape is very beautiful. My co-workers are really an enjoyable group. I get to spend time outside. I like coming into the office.
However, I must speak about some things I observe. And I have to say that watching and listening to some of the residents is real cause to stop, and reflect, about myself.
You should be careful what you wish for, but my-o-my, if I had the problems of some of these people. And it never ceases to amaze me how self-indulgent, self-absorbed and narrow-minded they can be.
I overhear phone conversations, and people coming into the front counter to ask questions. People complain about things that their neighbors do to their own property, qualifying their complaint with the over worn phrase "I didn't pay 2 million dollars for my house so I would have to look at that!" "Well, ma'am, perhaps you should have bought that piece of land too, so you could do with it what you want. My guess is they kinda feel that paying 2 million dollars for THEIR property gives them the same rights that you feel you have." Simple math.
They want amenities, but they don't want them near their house. They spy on each other and call the office to file complaints. Of course, this is far from everyone, but it's just enough to keep the entertainment level high enough to enjoy coming to work. They complain that the trash trucks make too much noise and come down the street too early: 430 or 5am. I'm not sure about you (my loyal 3 readers), but I think it's pretty cool that I can lug lots of crap to the end of my driveway and people will come take it away. I really don't care WHEN they do it or how much noise it makes. It's a pretty temporary inconvenience, but think of the problem I would have if every week I had to figure out where to put all of that stuff.
These people want to see the building permits of their neighbors, but they don't understand why they need one themselves, for the same job. They want what they want, but have no comprehension that other people's desires and opinions are equally valid. Some people really can't get their head around that concept. I see it in their eyes when I try and explain it. It's remarkable.
And I just think to myself... how do you have this much time and energy for such frivolity? I don't live anywhere near here. Frankly, I could not afford it. I try to worry a little more about my own issues: kids doing well in school, building some self-esteem in them, checking in on friends, staying in touch with family that is far too spread out around the country and nurturing my relationship with my partner.
And yet, some days I think it might be nice to have the time to call my local municipality office building and bitch about the color of my neighbor's shed. Oh, if that was my biggest concern..