Wednesday, April 9, 2008

that's what mom's are for

To my mom:

I don't know which is more comforting. Is it the fact that you have consistently sent me something by post for the past 2 1/2 weeks because you know I love the feeling that comes from getting a personalized letter in the mail? Or is it that you "exed" out "today" in the pre-printed card and replace it so that it would say, "I hope 'the week' is the hopscotch kind." I also enjoyed the coupons that you included for the next time I need to buy vitamins or fabric softener. I know the source of my thriftiness. Could it be the fact that you sealed the envelope with a sunshine sticker that came with every order of the old shaklee vitamins you gave us as kids at breakfast time; which you decorated my lunch sacks with when I decided that it was uncool to have an actual lunch pail and wanted to "brown bag" it like everyone else. You wouldn't let me be a lunchtime conformist. Maybe it's just the fact that you still have these stickers after 18 years.

I guess what's most comforting is knowing that when I call you and say that I just need you to talk, you talk. You don't ask me questions, you just talk like a little kid on a bus sitting next to an elderly woman and chatting away about your new pinwheel or the dog you saw at the park. And you don't limit these gabby excursions to conform to your schedule or your sleep or you 30-minute hula hoop exercise routine in the morning. You'll talk whenever, wherever. That's pretty cool.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What Would You Do For an Ex-President?

Due to the actual existence of a primary season, Indiana has actually seen some action on the political battlefield, and Bloomington was on the front line yesterday. Former President Bill Clinton made a stop in Bloomington to campaign for his wife's nomination. When I heard the news, I knew that I had to do whatever it took to guarantee my attendance at the rally. Indiana is such a dust bowl of political action, mostly due to its established role as a staunch "red state." Most democrats won't even come near the place. Actually, I don't even think there's an established Democratic headquarters in Ft. Wayne. I think the handful of donkeys just meet in someone's living room.

So, I found out the details of Clinton's rally and penciled it in. I bailed out of school at noon & rushed over to Assembly Hall to secure my place in line, like I was waiting for tickets to "Star Wars." I'm not good with numbers, but we were definitely within the first 100 attendees in line. There were multiple button salesmen & some t-shirt salesmen. There were Hillary protesters & Ron Paul supporters picketing. The line wrapped around like an extra-long shoe lace that someone just pulled out of their Chuck Taylor & carelessly discarded on their bedroom floor. It was exciting. It was nice to actually be in that political environment that I love so much.

Bill was supposed to speak at 2pm. The doors didn't open until about 1:30pm. We got really good seats. James Mann started the wave while winding up the inclined ramps that take you from level to level in Assembly Hall. There was a crazy lady with drawn on eyebrows, Phil Spektor hair, & a black velvet cowboy-fringed jacket sans female bolo tie in front of us that cut about 15 people in line just to sit in the back of the auditorium. We got situated. The dudes were having fun, trying to get the crowd pumped. It was now about 2:10pm. I then realized that I hadn't eaten since 1pm the day before. I felt like I was going to throw up my internal organs, just before I passed out. The guys were tossing off their coats and sweatshirts as they worked up a sweat playing air-guitar to Lenny Kravitz being played over the loud speaker. I quickly mustered the strength to gather their discarded coats to cover my shivering, convulsing body. It's now about 2:45pm; still no Bill. I figure that the gum that I had been chewing for the past 2 hours would provide me some nutrients if i just chewed it harder. Luckily, my jaw was involuntarily chattering so I didn't have to exert any more energy into trying to make my chops smack. 3pm: my vision starts to go foggy as an unidentified human figure approaches the podium & the crowd starts to cheer. "Oh good," I thought. "Oh wrong," was more like it. This unfunny IU student got up to try and keep the buzz that was generated from the Mann/Felton/Dixon generated wave. "Does anyone have any candy? Even a peppermint would suffice." I asked. "Nope." "Do you want me to go get you a pop?" "No, I'll be fine. You might miss Clinton if you go get a pop. Plus, it's $3. That's ridiculous." 3 minutes later, as I felt myself slipping in & out of consciousness and wasn't strong enough to stand up to let a girl pass through the aisle to go to the bathroom I ask Mike if I can borrow some money to try & muster the strength to climb the stairs to the concession stand to purchase an over-priced 20 ounce bottle of sugary pop that had the lid permanently removed. "No, no, I'll go get it." "No, I can do it. I'm fine" That's my typical response to everything. I can pretty much guarantee that those will be my last words. "I'm fine." Anyway, Mike got the sprite and I slowly started to sip it in between gag reflexes. "Is it helping?" "Well, I'm able to see again." 4:00pm. Still no ex-president.

Finally, around 4:30pm, Bill arose from behind the curtain. I was really excited. He was such a great speaker. He has this way of taking such complex societal concerns and explaining them in a way that even a Purdue alumni would comprehend. (I don't know. That's all I could come up with. My contracts professor always slams on Purdue grads.) This is truly a gift. I think this is one area where Hillary lacks, & she's lucky to have Bill around. She's slowly figuring out how to do this, but Bill is a master. The other thing that impressed me with Bill is how socially magnetic he was. He was explaining why he was so late to show up and at one point said, "I was in Bedford, and was done speaking, but I just have a problem that I can't help but shake people's hands." And it's true. When he finished his speech, President Clinton darted off the stage to congregate with "the people." It was almost like, okay I've done my wife's business, no I want to do my business." He beat the crowd to introductions. It was incredible & exhilarating. I was a Hillary fan before going to hear Bill Clinton, but his speech secured my vote. As pathetic as it sounds, hearing Bill talk about his wife and what she has done with her life instilled a re-exhilaration into my soul that was much needed. I understand what I'm doing in law school.

So, what would I do for an ex-president? I would skip out on an entire day of classes during "crunch time" before finals, stand in line for 2 hours, teeder between consciousness & unconsciousness as I slowly slip into a coma, and spend $3 on a pop. That's what I would do to have my faith restored through the words and actions of an ex-president.

Also, when I got home last night I had plans to attend the Why?/Prayer Breakfast show at Bear's. Unfortunately, I wasn't strong enough to make it over there. I was pretty bummed. I guess "missing a good show" could be tacked on to the list of things that I would do for an ex-president.