Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I despise self-pity. I was raised that way. "Being in a bad mood is a choice," my mother would always say. But last night, I indulged in an attitude I abhor, and it was wonderful. It was one of those nights when you want nothing better than to curl up in a cozy ball and talk to no one. After talking things over with my editor I concluded that my stories for the next day were settled enough that I could pay attention to the need to rest my cringing body. Simply slipping some tennis shoes on, I grabbed my keys and headed out the door in my North Star sweats. I don't go out in sweats. It makes me feel like everyone is looking at me thinking that I'm a lazy person who has no self respect. Last night I had a little too much self-respect. I didn't care what another soul in the world thought.

When I got to Albertson's I stood at the end of the isle gazing at the pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. After a few minutes I juggled the things in my arms in order to open the ice freezer door. ( I have a theory of starting out without a basket to help keep spending under control and use the arms I was given). The glass fogged up as a slowly reached for the Chunky Monkey and let the door slam shut. hmm, I thought. I know I used to liked this once, but I have never liked nuts in my ice cream. I rested towards one foot, and then the other. A couple scooted past me, making sure they had gathered every kind of snack they could possibly need for the many movies they rented. I tried holding just the cardboard on the lid and bottom of the pint so that it wouldn't freeze my hands. No, this isn't safe enough. I KNOW I like heath. But there were too many options. Vanilla? Coffee? Everything but the....

I finally chose the heath vanilla pint and headed towards the self check out so that no checker would see my obvious selection of pitiful items. At home I shut my door, snuggled into bed with my laptop Gala, picking out another safe selection --Little Women. Thank you, Luisa May Alcott.

I shmirked with deleight when Jo put on her writing cap, a tradition I have picked up myself. I scoffed at Amy's prudishness, and once again wished Beth would wake up to reality. When Jo rushed into the kitchen and yelled at Meg for falling for Brooks, I was right there with her exclaiming "Why does anyone have to get married!? Why can't we all just stay as we are!" I pushed the wet streaks up across my cheek bones and cherished every moment of it.

I am Jo. More than any fictional character that I've ever read. I don't know if I became her, or if she fits me, but either way, she never gets old. And neither does an occasional indulgence of B & J's, pillows and sweat pants.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"I like my coffee black....

..like our next president," said the man I was serving coffee to a few weeks ago. The man and I laughed until he noted that maybe he should quiet down because not everyone was laughing at his comment.

You can't avoid it though. Coffee and politics go together like trees and soil. I'm not sure which nourishes which, but I know they help each other out a lot. When I trudged across the parking lot with my partner at 4:15 a.m.'s chilled darkness, the one thing I could see before we walked in the door was the huge headline that simply read "OBAMA." The last time I'd seen a headline that big it read IRAQ. Whether welcomed or not, this was morning's headline broke the patterns of history. As NPR touted on their program the day before, Obama's parents couldn't even have legally been married in most states at their time of marriage because of their skin colors.

I realized as I served coffee starting at 5 a.m. this morning that I might be the first person people had a chance to rebound their reaction to the elections with.

"It is what it is," said a spiky gray haired man as I sold our last paper to him just shortly after 6a.m. "I just hope he makes true everything that he said he would in his speech last night," finished the man.

An hour later as my german co-worker joined us at the register beside me, she cheered, raising her hand fisted around a black Sharpy before marking the cup of a woman flaunting an Obama t-shirt.

"We are so glad in Europe," said my german partner. "The change is very good for the US."

Obama's mantra of change was primarily about policy. Now that change is imminent, we're touting it most as a change in the color of our president's skin. Will the fact that a black man is holding the most highly respected position in our country change the hearts and minds of those who have yet to be unmoved by historical policy's racial progress?

My hope is that 50 years from now the front pages of newspapers that sold out by 6 o'clock this morning are still framed and preserved as the day when my country marked a change toward the better in both hearts and policy.