Never Left

So I didn’t go home. This happens a lot. The fans whirrr. The sound of the keys echoes. I remember how foreign the formality of this place was at first. Nothing in my life prepared me for all the woodwork, the gold leaf, the orders of business and the structured discourse. We are farmers, ranchers, insurance agents, retired business people, teachers and sometimes ordinary working people. When you first arrive, this place can not help but instill awe.
    Trying to dress in the clothes this building requires is only one part of it. It is a lesson in class which I think those of us from rural places never got. Two earrings, not one. Shoes with heels, the tie for men, jackets for all of us, all the trappings of gender especially. And then there is the hand shaking. I’d never done that before I worked with the legislature. On doors when I ran for office, I learned to reach out and look someone in the eye. It was good. That making flesh to flesh contact that says I am not an image on a TV screen.
    The formality here forces us into civility perhaps. Maybe it is best we do not get too comfortable. In this place we have a very specific task. We are here to do the business of the people of Idaho, not our own business. The formality and foreignness is a reminder, minute to minute that we don’t own this, we visit by the graces of those who elect us. This place is other worldly for me in a wonderful way. I leave here and walk past neighbors and constituents longing for my black jeans and single earing. But that will wait. We have at least three months of law making ahead of us.
    Not in Kansas anymore. We pray, pledge allegiance, stand and sit at the gavel. We ask permission to speak and address each other as good lady or good gentleman.