Living in Society

Buying Time

Rouge Vif D’Etampes Pumpkin.

On Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021 I temporarily deactivated my Twitter and Instagram accounts. Instagram reported I was averaging an hour a day on the site. Twitter was likely two or three times that amount. There are plenty of other things on which to use this time.

As I approach my seventieth birthday I’ve been taking stock and focusing energy on things that matter. While I enjoy social media, a person has to set priorities. The energy formerly used on those platforms can now be devoted to writing and other forms of creative endeavor.

At some point, temporary deactivation will become permanent.

The change was almost immediate. I slept through the night. My blood pressure dropped overnight to within range. I felt like reading a book again. I feel like doing things instead of occupying time with computer screens. Change was unexpected, yet welcome.

I received a phone call from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources yesterday, informing me a recent special test they performed on our public water system indicated a high level of manganese, well above acceptable limits. I spent part of yesterday and will spend much of today determining what we should do to return the amount of manganese in our drinking water to safe levels. For the time being we issued a health advisory, which, this morning we will hand deliver to the 80 or so households that use our system. I went to town and bought ten gallons of bottled drinking water to use in the kitchen while we work through the process. It’s not how I was planning to spend my time.

In the county seat there is a controversy about an MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) light tactical vehicle procured by the county sheriff from military surplus. Some call it militarization of the police and object to it being in the table of organization and equipment of the sheriff’s office. The sheriff, who inherited the MRAP from his predecessor, said he’s keeping it and it’s non-negotiable. Like many public debates, this one is off the rails. Critics have evaded the basic question of whether or not the sheriff has authority to operate such a vehicle in the county. There should likely be better guidelines on how to use the MRAP, but neither do we want to tie the hands of the sheriff who needs to be fluid when responding to a crime. The whole debate is a distraction from improving interaction between the sheriff’s office and citizens of the county.

Not sure what I’ll do with the new found time. Maybe I’ll take a nap and rest for what’s next.