Monday, April 27, 2015

Shelf Awareness

On the bottom of the shelf, hanging from hooks, are the enormous coffee mugs. All of them are recent acquisitions: gifts from students, mostly. On the next shelf up, the matching mugs from our earthenware set of dishes, ample in size. Up one more shelf, mugs which would have been of normal size when we were college students. They now look awfully small. And on the top shelf, a rather dainty set of matching flowered mugs which are used only on special occasions when people are visiting and we are passing 'round cookies on a plate.

Truth be told, we only really like the enormous mugs. They hold more, and we love coffee. So we reach for them first. Then, when we run out, we work our way up the shelf. Most of the time we only make it through the earthenware set before the dishwasher has run and we are back to the big ones. Sometimes, though...dishes are piling up and we find ourselves forced to use those "little" mugs...

We don't really ever pause to think, "why have coffee mugs gotten so much bigger?" We just go for our morning coffee with religious devotion, the more the better. But we hang on to the old mugs, just in case. But we don't really think--how did we get here? Did we actually make a choice or did we just drift with the trend?

With the continued failure of the Columbia Association and Columbia's Villages to connect in any meaningful way with more than a sliver of Columbia residents, we see many people drifting along with the trends. The case has not been made to them that they need to pay attention. "It doesn't really matter."

If the original goal of Columbia was the active engagement of its citizenry working for a better community for all, then we are in deep trouble. An overwhelming majority of Columbians do not vote and do not understand what is at stake. Because of this, people with some narrow and reactionary views are getting elected. If their power is unchecked, their decisions will affect all of us.

I'm going to be focusing on some of these issues in the coming weeks. As limited as my reach may be, I just can't sit back and drift along with the trends. You shouldn't, either. At the very least, we should think about what we are doing.

And now, more coffee.


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