07 November 2008


The woman at the pharmacy was beyond a hot mess. She was more like a nuclear-meltdown mess.

If you had offered to bet me that she was there to pick up a forged prescription for OxyContin, I would not have taken your bet because I really, really hate to lose.

She was thin, tanned, tattooed, twitchy. Her hair was falling down around her face from a messy pile on her head, a style that might have been put up a few days ago and slept on ever since.

Or not slept. She had scary eyes that were simultaneously glassy, sleepy-lidded and yet still too bright and active.

She was wearing black bikini panties, which I can state for certain because her loose pants were so low that they fell somewhat below her crotch. She was standing in the busy pharmacy with underwear on full display, seemingly not bothered by that detail.

And there was a baby. Yes, of course, a baby. The man who was with her held the darling little brown-haired, blue-eyed boy as the woman danced to some internal music and tapped her hands on the counter.

She squatted down and clapped her hands as one might clap for a dog.

"Zander! Come here, Zander!"

The man put the baby down on the pharmacy floor. The little guy looked to be maybe seven or eight months old. He began to crawl around as the woman continued to clap and call.

When the baby didn't come to her, the woman said, irritated "What are you, a DUMB baby?"

My heart froze. Shattered. Fell into chunks around my feet. My ears began to pound and my vision went a little blurry.

A dumb baby. With that one horrible word, the danger that this child was in opened like a crevasse in my mind, black, yawning.

I knew before she said that that the woman was probably not Parent of the Year. But to call a tiny little guy, a crawler, DUMB with such disdain meant to me that she had no idea what the baby was capable of, what his needs were.

I didn't say anything. I didn't do anything. What could I do? I think even the gentlest of suggestions would have been rebuffed, and I was really too shocked to do anything but try and keep a horrified expression off my face.

I hope I am projecting too much, that I am terribly wrong, but I am afraid I'm not. I will keep those people in my prayers, because that is all I know to do.

05 November 2008

Nov. 5 2008

I sure hope Obama wins this election. That would be so great.


I couldn't handle watching the returns, so I went to the swimming pool. When I got back to Mom & Dad's, McCain was already ready to concede. I was amazed it went so fast, but I gotta say that the folks are THE WORST people to watch election returns with (or with whom to watch election returns if you are a grammar freak).

They were cranky. I am pretty sure Mom voted Dem and Dad voted Republican, but neither were rejoicing. They were In A Mood.

Dad flipped the channel to CBS.
"Ooh, I hate that Katie Couric," my mom said. In that respect, the apple does not fall far from the tree. If you ever hear me say the words "Katie Couric," they will most likely be preceded by the title "Evil Viper."
Dad ignored her.
"Can you please change the channel to something else?" Mom said.
Dad shut off the TV and sat there silent.
"Well, that's that," he said. "You don't want to watch, we don't have to."
"Oh, cripes," Mom said.
"Dad, can you turn the TV back on to another station?" I asked.
"Why?" Dad said. "She said she doesn't want to watch."
"Dad, can you just do it?"
"He doesn't know how," Mom said.
He flipped the TV back on. Fumbled with the remote. Changed the channel.

Dad went on sitting there silently while Mom complained about random things. As they showed the jubilant crowds in Grant Park, I broke out.

"I gotta go!" I announced. Ran out with Goldie. Stopped at the grocery, where I found the champagne shelf almost empty. Bought some Domaine Chandon, high-fived the boxboy who had written "OBAMA" on his nametag and went to CC's house, where we watched the acceptance speech, drank champagne, cried, hugged, and let Goldie sleep on the couch as a reward for being a good Democrat dog.


Earlier in the day, I had gone to 4 polling places to interview voters for the newspaper. The people I talked to were all great in their own way, but Manuel stood out in my mind. 79 years old, he had immigrated from Michoacan, Mexico in 1947.

"I come from Mexico and I never seen prejudice like that before," he said. "They way these black people were treated, they couldn't go to a restaurant, they got treated so bad. I was in the Army and they had a different barracks for black guys, even their, you know, their clothes on the beds were different. You would get in trouble with your platoon for talking to someone who was black. It was bad being a Mexican but man, those guys had it so much worse."

He voted for Obama, proudly. He said he thought the world belonged to young people and that they could understand Obama's message of hope. He got tears in his eyes. He was so sweet, and so proud.


I finally went to bed about midnight after seeing that Prop 8, outlawing gay marriage, was winning. If you can call it that. Seems like losing to me.


I shot up bolt awake at about 3 a.m., sure that I knew the Republican plan. The sight of the massive crowd in Grant Park came to me, and I suddenly KNEW that sometime soon, before or after the inauguration, "they" - the Bush-Cheney crowd - were going to assassinate Obama and wait for the inevitable riots, then declare martial law, something like Argentina during the Dirty War. Then dissent would be over, people would be locked up and tortured for speaking their minds, and the Bush-Cheney crowd could take power again.

I have paranoid thoughts like this at 3 a.m. so often that, when I awake worrying, I check the clock and say to myself, "Oh, it is just 3 a.m. worrying time," and then I can dismiss myself and get back to sleep.


This morning was rough. I thought I would be so happy, but Prop 8's passing hurt my heart so badly. I drove to work sobbing. I got to my desk and held it together til my married lesbian co-worker came into my cubicle, where I choked out, "I'm so, so sorry," and began howling in grief and shame.


This afternoon was better. Back on a more even keel. I hope Obama uses his community organizing skills to organize US. The country is fairly well screwed. We are ALL going to need to pitch in in some way to secure a better future. I, for one, look forward to the challenge.

03 November 2008

Grandparents save lives

I was lucky enough to have good parents, but so many people don't, and for them, a good grandparent is often a lifeline, an adult who provides sanity and stability and love when no one else is doing it. God bless good grandparents.

In memory of Barack Obama's grandmother, Helen Philpot is collecting good grandma memories. If you are so inclined, go and contribute yours.

My grandmother Janie (we called her Gramie) was born in 1906 and was one hell of a woman. After her manic-depressive stepfather screamed at her when she was 14, she told him she would never spend the night under the same roof as him, and she never did.

She moved out and got a job at Woolworth's in Santa Barbara. She met my grandfather and married him and raised two children during the Great Depression, living in a big house with other relatives and no indoor plumbing to get by.

Later on in life, she got an entrepreneurial itch and opened a dress shop, Janie's in Morgan Hill, that provided the majority of the family income. She was known for her great, thoughtful customer service. As a little girl, many of my best outfits came from Janie's.

She was so saucy, too. She had a funny sense of humor and loved a joke. As a kid, I was fascinated because she owned drinking glasses that, when filled with cold liquid, would cause the swimsuits on the pinup models pictured on the glasses to disappear, leaving NAKED LADIES! Oooh risque!

One of her projects was to try and befriend her crabby mailman. Every day she worked on him, cheerfully greeting him though he showed no signs of responding. Finally, after literally years, he cracked. I think it was one of her proudest accomplishments that she got the postman to consider her a friend.

Gramie and her friend

She was a smartie, a good employer, a good businesswoman, a helluva bass fisherwoman and a good friend. I hope I am one-half the woman she was. God bless you, Gramie. I miss you!

02 November 2008

Don't be afraid, gringo

I read a great book back in the late 80s or maybe early 90s called Don't Be Afraid, Gringo.

It was the story of a Honduran woman who was fighting against poverty and corruption in her native country.

Whenever I hear people talk about how "scary" Barack Obama is, I think of that title. To me, Obama has been labeled "scary" by white people because they see him as different, as something other than "us." I want to tell them "Don't be afraid, gringo" (and I mean that in the nicest possible way).

I made a whole list of the names Obama has been called and posted it over at Linkateria with all the links.

Looking at it all together, it gets pretty ridiculous. The man is, after all, a United States Senator, a Harvard law school grad and a former member of the University of Chicago faculty, not some wide-eyed Fidel Castro clone.

I keep seeing news clips of white people saying how they don't think a black man can represent "us." They wonder how anyone can believe in him. I think that the people who believe in him are tired of "us" versus "them." We are ready to work shoulder to shoulder with other Americans, Americans that we don't see as a collection of demographic traits but as people who want the best for this country and who believe that, working together, we can do anything.

Ok, I'll shut up now. Watch:
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