Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hello to Regular Joe

I was in it for the coffee.

I'm not really a see-'em-in-person kind of gal, but there was fresh-brewed liquid energy on offer, plus diner breakfast, so I dug my coat out of the closet and walked out the door into the bright chilly blue of my vacation day. It was 11:00 AM and Barack Obama was speaking two hundred feet from my favorite breakfast joint.

34,999 other souls apparently didn't even require the lure of caffeine: downtown Indy was packed. People pressed themselves into metal barriers, climbed trees, ranged themselves around the overflow screens the campaign had set up to broadcast the event. Barack was running late: by the time he strolled onto the podium in the middle of the American Legion Mall, Senator Evan Bayh had already warmed up the crowd, then handed it over to be cooled down by one of the mythical tribe of "regular people," a woman who told a sad, incoherent story about descending the rungs of the economic ladder.

(Who ARE these "regular people?" I've noticed that, campaign-wise, the defining characteristic of "regular people" appears to be an uneasy relationship with the English language. This is probably why so many "regular people" are suspicious of Obama's fluency and comforted by Sarah's slaughter of syntax. Spreading your words around smacks of Socialism.)

See, that was a nasty, cynical aside designed to illustrate my nasty, cynical streak. A streak that rendered me doubly unprepared, standing there jammed against 34,999 fellow Obama supporters and a couple of eerily life-like cardboard cut-outs, to be ambushed by that wily opponent of cynicism, inspiration.

My day-to-day relationship with inspiration can be summed up in three words: Kiss my ass. Yet, there I was, howling like a maniac, raising my arms to the heavens and choking back the lump in my throat that kept materializing whenever I looked around at 34,999 businessmen, mothers, schoolchildren, bums, camera-wielding cyclopses, aging hippies, union men, apprentice chefs, bicycle messengers, hoodlums, crazies, grandmothers, amputees, and "regular people." For once, maybe the only time in our lives, we were all in it together.

Barack Obama: better than Metamusil.

1 comment:

Ellie said...

I wish I lived in a swing state. We'll never see him, here in CA.