Tuesday, June 9, 2009

mutual concern

I'm exhausted. Yesterday I took a day "off", which means we bundled the kids into the car and drove an hour and a half to Thunder Bay to get the car fixed, the dog shot (I mean immunized), do a little shopping, and have a picnic with my wife's folks. Then we drove an hour and a half home. Except that the dog wanted to bite the vet's hand off, everything went as planned. All this driving around and having fun is more work than earning a living though, so it wasn't much of a holiday.

I'm headed back to the big city on Thursday for a Mutual Aid meeting. Mutual Aid is an agreement that allows a department to leave it's boundaries to help a neighbouring department with a fire or other emergency. It works well if you have neighbours, which Upsala doesn't. Four or five times a year all the mutual chiefs get together to haggle over mutual issues. The meetings are long and arduous, but usually result in some mutual benefit - kind of like a trip to Thunder Bay. I keep myself awake by doodling. The more doodles on my agenda sheet, the less mutual connection I made with the discussion. Here is a cartoon I drew a few years ago about Mutual Aid.
I have called for help a few times in the past dozen years. Once was for a train wreck. If you want to read an article I wrote about that experience click here. If you're a faithful follower, and read my April 22 post, you may have seen the article already.

Why do I bother going to these marathon meetings? The volunteer fire service in the Northwest tends to be polarized. We often fight our battles individualistically, especially the bureaucratic ones. Mutual Aid helps broaden us out a little. That's what I tell myself anyway. The real reason that I go is because I'm supposed to.

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