I studied the item, checked it once more, and put it into its carrier, then went out the door. The item did not weigh a great deal, and yet . . . Having it with me meant that I was accepting a very serious responsibility, one that used to be a major hallmark of adulthood and even citizenship. That’s not a weight to be carried lightly.
As my readers know, I write about adults who accept responsibility for certain things. They strive to be full partners for their spouses, to care for their children and any other dependents, to be good citizens as their cultures define that. Often, they have minimal patience for “adults” who refuse to pull their load, who insist on depending on others even when they could stand on their own. Now, there are also characters who can’t do it all, and know it. Prof. Jacob Renfrew, for example, can’t run. He would have a lot of trouble trying to shoot a firearm (or bow and arrow for that matter) while standing. But he still does everything he can, using what he has. I’d hate to be the paramedic called in to treat any fool who attacks Jacob in his kitchen, either at the university or at home!
Ideally, with certain skills and tools, you train to use them in the hopes you never need to use them. I don’t want to have to use a seatbelt cutter or window-breaker to extricate myself or someone else from a wrecked vehicle. I don’t want to have to perform CPR on someone. But I’d feel a lot worse if I needed that tool or skill and didn’t have it, even though I’d had the opportunity to get one/learn.
In other cases, I do my best to avoid situations where I need to use tools/training. There’s a saying in aviation: A Superior Pilot uses his Superior Judgement to avoid situations that require his Superior Skills. I took an advanced unusual-attitude training class in order to learn how to recognize the onset of exciting moments, so I could avoid them as well as get out of them. That served me very well at a later date, when a student pilot did exactly the wrong thing at the precisely wrong moment. I recovered from the maneuver because I’d been trained to. Then I coached the student through the proper steps, and we finished the lesson. Once he departed and I had a moment to myself, I sat and shook a bit. At a very different place and time, I recognized a situation developing, and got myself as far away from it as possible. That’s also being an adult.
The item I mentioned in the first paragraph doesn’t have much mass. But it weighs a great deal, because of the responsibility it carries with it.