Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shutdown diary

The lovely husband, knowing he'd be gainfully employed all day, left for work early. I drove the girls to school. I drove to work. I had to show up in person to sign my furlough notice. I walked G into school. The director reminded me that all the kids needed to be picked up by 1pm as that was the deadline for closing the building. I went upstairs. I set out-of-office messages on my email and voicemail. I turned off my computer, found my supervisor, signed my notice, accepted the paperwork I need for filing for unemployment. And at 9:17am, I was out of work.

I let G enjoy his last morning at school. He's on furlough now, too, a little refugee of Congress's wars, a boy who wants his life to look the same every day and won't be getting that for an unknown bit.

We spent the day together. We felt our way through the building blocks of an ordinary afternoon on a day that was anything but ordinary. We completed a project he's been requesting for a while and as the sun fell low we went to get his girls and fall into regular patterns, a family evening just like any other.

I am glad I work for the government, not because of an outsized patriotism or steady benefits but because I believe in my agency's mission. We truly day by day serve the people of the United States and people from all over the world who want to learn about the United States. I love to go to work. It is not perfect but the content of my work is endlessly fascinating and it serves humanity. 

It makes me so sad to be told I can't do my good work. 

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