Wednesday, February 23, 2005


You will suffer some kind of setback today, and for an hour or two you may be rather depressed about it. However, you are not the sort to despair for long and by the end of the day you will be planning your next major move. Sooner or later, one of your big ideas is going to pay off - that's why you must never give up.

Setback? Setback? I’m really not in the mood.

How did I manage to forget that it is February? There are all sorts of rational explanations for it, but the observed truth is that February has always been a challenging month for me. I have my therapy lamp and my cherished daily routines to prop me up, but still February nags and annoys.

Each year, I slide into February with hope that it will be different. No, that’s wrong. I always forget that February is like this. This year I thought it was the legislative rough-and-tumble that was bugging me. I mean, really, what is it that happens under the dome to transform people of good will and better intentions into single-issue monomaniacs clinging to party affiliations over the common good of Vermonters?

Personally, I don’t even recall which party—if any—I registered. I have been registered as an independent most of my life, except when I lived in Philadelphia during Frank Rizzo’s attempted comeback and I really, really, really wanted to register an anti-Rizzo vote in the primary. Perhaps this means that I don’t have a grasp of the larger issues or the long term. Perhaps I don’t understand how to make a politically expedient trade. Or perhaps I just have a fundamental objection to the junior high cliques and transactions of our political process. Whispers of even more adolescent activities among our legislators simply make my skin crawl. Register me for the Idealist Party, please, or for whichever party is actually tackling the fundamental issues facing Vermont and Vermonters. I believe in fairness and courtesy and the ability of grown-ups to work together, and it distresses me when I don’t see that kind of behavior among people I thought better of.

I do understand that legislators and those swirling around their footfalls in the halls of law-making are humans, generally principled and well intentioned ones, but the collective exercise of legislation…who was it who said it resembles sausage making? So that, my friends, is the primary driver of my miserable mood these days—the requirement that I participate in politics to a far greater degree than I ever intended. But it really has nothing to do with Montpelier or with the specific issues facing my friends and colleagues, it really has nothing to do even with absence of sunshine, not even with new demands piled on in our busiest season, nor yet with old dogs whose failing bladders get me up in the middle of the night.

It’s just flippin’ February. Every year it gets me. I forget it is lurking out there and wham! It lays me out with psychic blow after nagging annoyance. My horoscope for today notwithstanding, a setback is simply not an acceptable addition to this mix. If I have a major setback today, I will be forced to go home, crawl under the covers and not come out until Town Meeting Day next Tuesday. Maybe that is my best strategy.

I could come to view Town Meeting Day (first Tuesday in March) as a major holiday, an occasion for celebration, a last hurrah of political struggle before we turn our attention back to starting seeds and looking for the return of the sun.

1 comment:

Robert said...

At least February is the shortest month.