AuthorFarsad, Negin

Oh my God, you're such a good citizen. You went to a bulb-planting event at your local park, and you enthusiastically wielded a shovel. You introduced yourself to this and that neighbor. You showed interest in daffodil placement! In raking! You were so good.

Then you got invited to the local precinct's community council meeting. You say to yourself, hmm ... I really should go. You check your overpacked schedule. It's hard. I better make that work, you tell yourself. I should be a part of this community council meeting. By the way, what is a community council meeting? No matter, you already know that if you don't go it's like you've given up on your community. So much for civic engagement.

No, no, you must go. You're such a good citizen!

You hear about a vigil going on for the protests in Iran. In this scenario, you're an Iranian American, so you have to go. It's horrible what's happening, you have family there, and you have to do everything you can on the American side to show support. And due to never-ending logistical challenges, you have to take your toddler because of a thing she has to do before, and then another thing she has to do after. You wonder if everyone's toddler has the kind of schedule that requires Google Calendar. You reason with yourself that taking a three-year-old to a protest isn't annoying; it's good for her. You've got to raise a good citizen, after all.

You go, and she's confused about why everyone is holding signs. You remember she still can't read. She's confused by why everyone is chanting things in unison. You explain to her that the government of Iran is "being mean to women, and we want them to stop." She seems to like that answer. But she likes the lollipop you bribe her with more. But that's OK, right? Right?! You can use a lollipop bribe to make your toddler pretend to care about a protest and be a good citizen, right?

You run into a friend at the coffee shop who asks you what you're doing this weekend, because he's canvassing. "Why don't you go canvassing with me?" he says. Inside, you let out a cry, because you have a full-time job but also a full-time desire to be a good citizen. He keeps adding to the pitch: "It's a nearby swing district, the bus ride would only be a couple hours, there's an extra clipboard, and it'll be fun!"

Your inner scheduler...

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