Except in politics. It is a curious creation, that. We rally together to bind ourselves to the tyranny of office. We debate, discuss, and sometimes die in the name of a system intrinsically designed to take resources from our personal lives on what amounts to a soft promise to give it back, transmuted from lead to gold, in the form of some service that we alone could not provide and at some later date… unless the other guy is elected and then all is for naught. Maybe this is selfish – I do, after all, trust the fire department to arrive without them first calling to confirm my bank account balance. That’s good. People care more when they’re both personally invested and need whatever the thing is. Maybe it’s altruistic – I do, after all, happily give up a portion of my income to pay the current medical bills of past generations. A bit of that is a wink and a nod to my own future but mostly, I’m paying for the folks alive today. I work to never need the benefit that I will pay into all my life. Government is weird.
This isn’t the thought that lingers. After the excitement, the congratulations, the calls and texts to parents, what lingers is not the little wonder growing inside her but the little wonder that I caught in my hands as my wife bounded down an aisle. It’s small, no larger than a postcard, heavier by a bit but hardly heavy, and it connects me to everything. We were buying beer when the phone rang. Faces appeared. We were instantly beside them as they shared their news.
Each walk is pleasant in its own way. One carries me down dank, 1930’s-era stairs through the main building to a psychiatric hospital where curly-headed doctors wielding horn-rimmed glasses and bow ties confer in corners. They make me smile because they’re almost tropes of themselves. Another walk takes me through the ultra-modern cancer center, across a parking deck, and into the outpatient clinic where people urgently await treatment that does not meet the threshold of “inpatient”. Ambulatory, we call them, because hey, at least you can walk out of here today.