Saturday, October 14, 2006

Changing from public person to private

That's a pretty covered bridge at the State park 3 miles from my home.

It's nice to acclimate to being a private person again. It's also interesting to note the body changes as I smooth into a new life.

For example, as I leave the apartment, for the first time in almost 7 years, I do not have to load myself up with work-related materials before leaving. I always made sure to have with me in hand my camera, notebook, and a pen or two. My left hand was always carrying those three items with my right hand closing the door as I crossed from private space to public. How strange to leave the apartment unencumbered, both hands free! And I had not realized that I had trained my body to react differently as I left the one space and entered the other.

As I left the library yesterday, a woman and two teens where un-potting mums in front of the building in preparation for planting them in the nicely landscaped front garden. I reacted to the sight by reaching for my notebook, while my brain said 'volunteer story'! That happens a lot. I see things happen and my body tenses and reaches for the camera or notebook and my brain starts to organize the story as I approach. It always takes a few seconds for me to realize that I do not have to do that any more.

Apparently my brain and body had inculcated itself into a watchful, tense, observant mode, and my brain was always ready to see a story and leap on it. It's really nice to slow down, and to buy tomatoes from the tomato man parked outside the post office without having to think if it was a story. Or to see the hay tractors trundling up the highway without having to wonder if the hay production was better this year as opposed to last. Now I can just enjoy the hay.

It's true that all towns are the same, with the same issues and concerns no matter where you are in the country. I notice that Falmouth had an issue with a town employee transporting alcohol in a town vehicle and in our county, the Selectmen this week determined to create a policy outlining the same thing. The Selectmen here just voted to enforce time limits on speakers, after hearing people wander off subject too many times (A citizen describing Washington crossing the Delaware apparently had kept the Selectmen transfixed last meeting). In Gray, time limits will be set up for speakers at council meetings.

Same same.

Here is one piece of news from our county that I never have heard anywhere though. The 2006 tax bills will not go out until 2007, if that. I guess when the Selectmen fired the tax appraiser for spending $4 on the county credit card for making a personal purchase, and have been fighting about who to hire ever since, that they forgot the rule that no tax bills can go out unless there is a certified appraiser in place. Oops.

I think I will adjust very well to being a private person again, noting these things for my own self and not having to balance them against whether they would make an informational or interesting story for the people. What will I do with my time?


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