Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Getting Into The Spirit Of It All

I suppose I should mention the election.

My wife took her daughter off with her to vote before work this morning. She felt it important to get her into the spirit of things and recognize that voting is very important. What with all the banging on about the superiority of western democracy over all other current options it certainly seems a touch of a piss-take then when people don't vote. My daughter had been up early anyway after she and her brother both managed the impressive trick of wetting two completely different beds simultaneously. Nice trick that. I dropped off some gloves at school for my daughter and the secretary - stood in the office with two other women I don't think I've met before - cheerily asked if I had voted. to which I replied, "Oh don't be silly dear. They don't let the likes of me vote." I felt like letting the bad-boy sexual appeal of the possibility that I can't vote due to a prison conviction (hopefully a really sexy one) linger in the air. But the combination of that being absurd and genuinely frightening forced me to point out as a foreigner I can't vote. Unfortunately given the area and some of the comments prevalent I then had to explain that I'm not a citizen. I dallied with saying that I'm Kenyan. But given the weird sensitivity of anyone with any kind of ideological fervor I thought best not to. I'd either be called racist or someone would launch into a mad, angry tirade about how it's definitely true. So - as I have a few times today - I said that I'll ignore the news all day because it's absurd.

It really is ironic that 24 hour news has crippled itself on a day like today. Nothing can or will happen at all until after polls close tonight. So on the biggest night of the last 4 years they have nothing to add to the story all day long. Snort. Not that they aren't trying mind you. I caught a brief glimpse of it after I came back from my daughter's school and judging by the urgent tone of the newscaster ABSOLUTELY ANTHING COULD HAPPEN if I looked away. It's not as if Brian Williams is going to interrupt regular programming in the middle of the day and announce, "And this just in. Amazing scenes here as it's been announced that Mitt Romney has been disqualified from the race after it was discovered he had tampered with his own urine..." Anyway - I just wish they'd hurry up and announce so we can find out who is going through to the semi-finals to face Spartak Moscow.

Actually that was my biggest irritation yesterday. I get that emotions are high. And I understand that people feel strongly about ideological beliefs on both sides of the spectrum. And - even though I know I veer to the Left ideologically - I feel that reflexively asserting that if the current President loses it's down to racism is too silly. There are all kinds of reasons people vote. Racism certainly being one of them. Some people are ideologically blind, or stupid or completely ignorant. Those are usually the reasons people give for why their guy lost. This time though I'm hearing a lot about the "it will mean this really is a racist country after all" pre-gaming. Which is sad for a variety of reasons. So yesterday I was reaching out in a pragmatic way whilst chatting with a neighbor. As a foreigner without voting rights I get to talk about it in a "they're all crooks" above-the-fray tone. So after making a comment about how the whole "too close to call" thing feels very manufactured (but not suggesting which way it very clearly is going) I made the conciliatory point that I hope that - whoever wins - that the loggerheads nature of Congress will end. I made a point that I was a strong Labour supporter and that when the Conservatives won in the UK you had to hold your hands up and say that the other guys won - they get to push policies through. And the opposition shouldn't build a wall of No Compromise on principle. If only for a brief period. I then said that really - if Obama wins with a clear enough margin it has to be accepted that his government should be allowed to govern with a mandate (whatever that might be). And - alternately - that if Romney wins with a large enough margin - that I hope the narrative won't choke the political discourse by insisting that it was entirely just a racist thing. Because the notion of 2012 America crippled with that sort of narrative outcome makes me feel sick inside. That sounded reasonable to me. At which point my neighbor nodded in apparent agreement before making a vile, idiotic comment that included the words "Muslim" and "monkey". Which not only pissed me off but completely annihilated the point I was making.

In totally different news - a few days ago I accidentally sang a Christmas song in the bath. I was challenged by my daughter that I couldn't sing the opening lines of Dominic The Italian Christmas Donkey with a mouth full of bath water - and not choke. No way was I letting her have gloating rights over that one so I gargled through it. A day later I caught my son honking the the annoying chorus to it. A couple of days later my daughter flat-out asked me to fill her little Mp3 player thing up with Christmas sons. You know - now that it's Winter." I very energetically reminded her that Winter doesn't begin till the end of January thank you very much. An inane calendrical fact of life in an area where it has already snowed a few times this year already. Naively I assumed she was just chancing her arm. Then - whilst I thought we were all engaged in a lovely family moment of watching old videos taken last Christmas time - she betrayed her true motives. She didn't want to experience the memories. She didn't want to share the moments again. She didn't even want to watch and marvel at the demented spasm-dancing that she assaulted us all with back then. No - she wanted to hear the Christmas songs in the background. Annoyingly I didn't figure that out until she pointed at a link to Frosty The Snowman that Youtube offered up. Then it clicked. Balls.

I'm that much of a tit though that I considered it. Partly because I can't quite recall the numbing agony of last December and the constant stream of three Christmas songs played on repeat for 10 hours a day. I think it's like when women endure a pregnancy and difficult birth - admit that they don't ever want to go through that evilness again - only to blubber up and desperately need another baby because, now that they think about it, they actually liked being pregnant. I'll also admit I partly considered it as an act of love. I'd just ten minutes earlier snapped at her a little because she was chasing her brother around and trying to shove him over. That always ends in tears but she kept at it - insisting that was chasing him but not actually touching him. Just putting her hands around him and he was falling over to avoid her. Therefore not her fault. I was having none of that so demanded they cut it out. A combination of her being over-tired and surprised made her more sad than she should have been. Under her bloody thumb, basically. So - just for a second - the sentence, "Yeah why don't we just put a couple of songs on it?" crept through my head. It's only a mercy that my son interrupted us to go to the bathroom. That cleared me head enough to realize that putting a Christmas song on to be played repeatedly every available moment from November 6 for almost 60 days may be the sort of evidence that can be used in court by people trying prove that they should have Power of Attorney over a demented relative.

So I didn't do it. I did very briefly consider going an entirely different route and filling her Mp3 player up with it - but also banning all other music, television and entertainment. In other words sort lof like making her smoke the entire pack just because I caught her smoking Frosty in the kitchen (that came out much worse than I ever intended it to). But frankly that is the sort of horrifying thing that people do when they torture people. And my daughter's endurance is likely higher than mine. So I vetoed it and told her I won't reconsider in any way until after Thanksgiving. My only satisfaction now is knowing that some of you won't be able to shake the infuriating guff that is Frosty the Snowman (or worse - Dominic The Donkey) out of your head. Which is particularly mean of me.

But then it's not like I've written "Santorum Sandwich" I forced that horrifying image into your head is it?

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