vaster than empires and more slow

We’ve been having tons of people working on various elements of the house lately, in our naive quest for a garden. Yesterday, it was nubile young lads on ladders (ladder lads!), cleaning out our gutters, clearing away leaves and dead branches from the ground all around the house, and even toppling and hauling away one tall tree that was deemed diseased. Next step, the laying down of the topsoil, which will probably be next week.

Today, in a non-garden-related event, it was Wally the Surly Plumber, who seemed only to succeed in making the toilet fill more loudly, and more slow. Thanks Wally!

(less Wally! more Ladder Lads!)

(what do we want? Ladder lads! When do we want ’em? Now!!)

And… yesterday was town meeting in our wee New England burg. I’m a big geek about town meeting. I get there early, collect flyers from all the politicians lined up out front, grill them about their positions on hot-button items (how about increasing that library budget? and continuing to fund the dental clinic in town? and how come I have to pay for a second dump sticker?), collect as many free, energySmart light bulbs as I can get away with, try and sneak down the hall of the middle school meeting is held in, to sneak a peek at the photo of my 8th grade graduating class and whisper a fervent prayer of thanksgiving that those days are long long past;

Then I wander around, looking for the seating area with the highest concentration of cranky loudmouths in it, helpfully identified by all the oversized buttons on their shirts, saying things like “YES on 22B!” or “I heart Proposition 2 1/2!” (You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. True-Life Stories of Town Meeting Buttons!)

This particular town meeting was fun because we were voting on the Resolution to Give Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft The Finger (a.k.a. a non-binding resolution to defy the so-called Patriot Act). I live in a rather conservative town, filled with wealthy retirees. I was prepared to represent (yeah boyee) and agitate, but never expected the resolution to pass.

Many people spoke, for and against the resolution, one of whom was my old high school History teacher. He waved his copy of the Bill of Rights, spoke of the internment of Japanese Americans, McCarthyism, the Alien and Sedition Acts… (yeah, he’s dreamy…) A local newspaper columnist, a retired military guy, spoke and told us we were being silly, that it was “much ado over nothing”. I noticed the clerk had typed “adieu to nothing” (the record is typed into a computer, and the text is shown on a projector screen next to the stage). Nothing, I will say Good Day to you! Take that, Sartre!

Finally some old crank (and I mean that in the best, and most respectful sense — I look forward to being an old crank at town meeting myself someday) motioned for an end to debate, and we voted by voice. It was impossible to tell if the yays or the nays had it, so we voted by holding up our cute little tags stamped by the Town Clerk.

263 (for) and 232 (against), baby. Read em and weep. Here’s to all the losers who left early, after the hotly contentious debate over dog licenses and kennel fees a half-hour ago.

Never. Ever. Leave the ball game early. The team can always come back in the ninth.

I Heart Participatory Democracy!

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