Thursday, January 22, 2009

President Obama's Inauguration

Don't you think it's odd that I never even mentioned Martin Luther King Day? Me, too. And how about my new Followers? Wouldn't you think that I'd've tipped a hat to them, or at least swished the hem of my new robe? And look: It's two days after the inauguration, and you haven't heard from me yet.

I really have no defense at all.

I loved the quartet at the inauguration: black, Jewish, Chinese, Catholic, white, male, Israeli, Venezuelan, Hoosier, female, yellow. All we needed was some blonde hair and an Indian of some sort, and it would have been Jesus Loves The Little Children all over again. That's as American as processed cheese spread on a Philly Cheesesteak.

While I love Aretha Franklin, I confess that I've about had enough of singers trying to out-sing a song. God knows I love free-form and scat. I just don't think patriotic tunes -- or any other folk tunes, for that matter -- are suitable for improvisation. I also think that the people gathered at The Capitol would have been in the mood to join in a couple of verses of My Country, 'Tis of Thee. I know I would have been. And how wonderful that My Country was chosen, instead of The Star-Spangled Banner.

Just the other day, I had one of those emails we've talked about, the one with fifty-seven (for real) questions about My Favorite TV Show. Well, I filled it out but only sent it back to the guy who started it. I did not send it to any of you. You're welcome. One of the questions was, "When is the last time you cried?" My answer was, "Not recently enough." Well, if I'd filled out that questionnaire on January 20, my answer would have been, "At Obama's inauguration."

I watched it on my computer, thanks to I'm glad I did. I only caught a few moments of the inaugural ball, but I intend to check it out later. I wonder if the Bushes actually slept in their bed in the White House on January 19, and then the Obamas slept in the same bed on the twentieth. I'm sorry that my brain works that way.

I kept covering up Bush's face when it was shown. I riles me to see it by itself, but it's an affront to see it alongside Obama's.

I was as glued to the television at JFK's death as any other thirteen-year-old, but that was the last time (if also first time) I cared about big news. The night that O.J. Simpson led the car chase, I was at work on the second shift. A vagrant proofreader was listening with a headset to a radio account of the chase. As I walked by carrying a box of my desk stuff, she yelled out bits and pieces. I thought she was reporting on a late-night TV show. When I found out otherwise, I actually made a point to avoid all news about it. I don't even know why. I know I was disgusted by everyone else paying so much attention to it. I suppose it's just part of my Rebel Without A Cause personality.

I saw almost nothing of the 911 attack, either. At that time, I was working days, and a co-worker who'd been sneaking a look at internet news said, "Barbara, something strange is going on ..." so I got up to look. That's nearly all I saw, even though I had a TV in those days. I just refuse to join in on Group Panic.

It's probably not rebellion at all. It's probably some sort of ostrich effect, a self-protective action. I wouldn't go see Jaws, either. When I finally saw it years later, it wasn't even scary. I probably would have fainted if I'd seen it in theaters at the time. I didn't see E.T. when it opened, either, but I wish I had. Ditto Planet of the Apes. Interesting that I'm talking about movies and politics/Big Stories as if they're the same thing ...

I remember being grateful that I'd never have kids, because I knew I'd feel stupid when my grandchildren asked about Watergate and I wouldn't know anything about it. I only heard about Clinton's sex scandal peripherally. I certainly didn't "follow" it. A man came up to me in a big market in Ghana in 1998 and demanded, "You leave Mister Clinton alone!" I assured him I would. I hardly knew what we were talking about.

So I sort of wondered if I'd watch the inauguration. I don't know my motives for avoiding Big News. I just know that I do it.

It turns out, though, that I did want to watch the inauguration, and so I did. I found myself listening to NPR as I drove around today, thinking that maybe I'd even like to keep track of, oh, who's the secretary of state, for instance. Or even the vice-president. I've hardly ever let myself know those things. Maybe now I'll see what's happening in Afghanistan. Maybe I'll quit being culturally deprived.

Or not.

* * * * *
In the meantime, I finished Ken Follett's World Without End on January 20. I loved it, of course.

Don't forget I'll be at the Ybor City Saturday Market from nine till three on -- you guessed it! -- Saturday. And Sunday is that Studio @ 620 thang. Tomorrow's a massage at noon, but -- sorry! -- no one's invited except Andrea (

And tomorrow I also start painting Liz's Nissan X-terra. I'd like to show you pictures as I progress, but she's up with her boyfriend in Massachusetts and I want it to be a surprise. Well, she knows the car's getting painted, of course. I just want her to see the actual car when it's done, not a photo of it. I know she'll see this blog, so I can't show you without showing her. I will give you a hint, though: I'm using colors #104, #114, and #162.

1 comment:

olga kruse said...

Whatever you have to say and whatever you don't have to say, I always want to read it. Thanks, an admiring FAN of the Natterere