Tuesday, November 04, 2008

the election in review...

– an abridged collage of words and events from my tiny corner of the world.

"Three-year-olds for Obama" Parts I-III.

I.) It rhymes with Mama and Llama and Drama, all things my boy loves. (NB: McCain rhymes with Pain and Strain and Insane.)

II.) If only I wasn't alone when Isaac approached the Obama/Biden sign in the front yard and, moving his fingers slowly across the letters, sounded out “O...BA...MA.”

III.) An election year alphabet.
A is for the Audacity to hope, where anything should begin.
B is for Biden, okay, I can live with him. And Bruce, all the cool cats hang with him.
C is for Change, not the kind you put in tip jars.
(Look, Isaac is going to wake up from his nap soon, so pick a letter and send me yours!)
On a trip to the farmer's market I encounter a man holding up a McCain/Palin sign. The shocking sight of it triggers some kind of shadow symptoms of tourette's disorder in me and without thinking, while no more than 15 feet away, I shout at the guy, "WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??!!"
Setback in my meager campaign to do something-for-god's-sake. I hand deliver a registration form to a mom (of three) and Isaac's preschool. She fails to return it by the deadline. Three children unspoken for. I mourn, and then realize I live in California and well, she can get away with it this time, at least on the presidential level.
Meager campaign limps on, pointing out to a poet friend who's second poetry collection is set to be published early next year, that his planned title of "A Bridge to There" conjures unwanted associations. He hadn't caught it. He consults other poets and ultimately decides to change it. He thanks me most sincerely.
Meager campaign finds new steam again. On the phone with my hair dresser this morning, making an appointment. We've spoken already about how she's registered for the first time in her life and she's voting for the O-man:
“Did you vote yet?”
“I have to vote today, huh?”
“I've never done this before! Where do I vote?”
“It depends where you live.”
“How do I find out?”
"Did you get a sample ballot?"
"I don't think so."
“Can you get on a computer?”
“I don't know. I can try...”
“Give me your address, I'll find it for you right now.”
On the eve of the election (uh, that's writer talk for “yesterday”), I'm chatting with my almost 82-year-old neighbor, Mrs Johnson, a white woman married for 57 years to a black man. She is sweeping leaves from our tree out of her yard. She never says his name. Instead she says, “I hope he makes it. I hope he makes it. He's young. He has a lot of energy. There's so much prejudice, maybe he can do something. I hope he makes it. All this prejudice all around...” And at that, she purses her old lady lips and grips her broom more tightly, then swings it out, as if to sweep away what's distasteful.

By this final week, Mike and I had become junkies. He catches me on the computer reading up on Obama via Wikipedia after Isaac's in bed. We discover his birthday is the same as our wedding anniversary. Mike continues to study the stats.

“Hmm. 48? I thought he was younger than that.”

“He was. When this bloody thing started. He's been campaigning for 700 years! I mean, 21 months!”
Walking into my (line-free) polling place I feel like kissing all the volunteers. I squeak, “Are we excited?” Funny thing this English language, you use it to ask questions when you know the answer.
I kept reading about people bringing their 5- and 6- and 7-year-olds to the polls with them to witness history. But at our house, things were a little different. Three is not 5. All afternoon I'm one way-distracted mama...

“Isaac, let's go look on the computer and see how Mr. Obama is doing and if he'll be our next president.”

“Okay,” he sighs dragging his feet. “But THEN can we find rocks for my penguin to jump on?” (It was a rockhopper, you know.)

1 comment:

bobbie said...

I love this. Yeah, I know, I love most of what you do (not all, most), but this is special.
We do whatever we can. Your campaign wasn't "meager".

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