Thursday, November 13, 2008


  1. Catch up on Perez Hilton posts.
  2. Eat something that tastes bad and is incredibly high in fat/calories.
  3. Check out baby pictures on Facebook of the offspring of people you never really liked.
  4. Google the name of someone you know who is more successful than you.
  5. Apply for a job you really really want.
  6. Consider how you came to possess the job you have.
  7. Look into graduate schools.
  8. Remember how much happier you were when you were thinner.
  9. Listen to Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith, Amy Winehouse. Read Wikipedia entries about them. Also about Kurt Cobain and Edie Sedgwick.
  10. Blog

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I just wanted to add to my previous post that after encountering the crazy lady in the blue car, we spent the rest of the day referring to her as Girlbeard. It's a lot of fun to say. You should try it. Girlbeard. Ha!


...It was in Scranton, PA. Actually outside of Scranton. In a little suburb called Olyphant. Who knew Scranton had suburbs? (If I sound citified, it's because I am. Picture me and my friend, a beloved homosexual, ambling cheerfully down the pedestrian-free sidewalks of Scranton to the charming coffee shop and roaster [With wifi! And soy milk!], while we waited to be assigned turf. Picture how impressed we are with the selection of goodies and sandwiches and specialty espresso drinks. Be embarrassed on our behalf.)

I dressed badly for the trip, which is disheartening, since I pride myself on putting together outfits appropriate for any given occasion. When we went to the Atlantic Antic, a famous street festival that stretches for miles through downtown Brooklyn, I wore a hooded sweatshirt and my brown trucker hat that has "Dope" spray painted in Wild Style on its face. I wanted to keep it real, you know? But to Lackawanna County (Was I hung over when I dressed? Or still drunk?) I wore a short brown suede skirt with striped knee socks and oversized fake Uggs, a long sleeved shirt, and a brown, down, Elie Tahari vest with a huge dramatic hood. When I got out of the car to ask for directions, my friend who had been driving shook his head at me.

Out on the streets of Olyphant, the mood among we three Brooklynites who had made the trek could not have been more ebullient. The sun was out, the trees boasted their Autumn glory from the peaks of the Poconos that surrounded us, and Obama was kicking major ass in the polls. Most of the people we spoke to were already on our side, we were just reminding them to get out and vote on Tuesday. It was a good day. Then someone waved us down from a once-blue American car. It was a real beater, probably from the 70's when cars came in two sizes: hearse and boat.

She was a big lady, she possessed the kind of pillowy largesse that happens when a person never ever ever moves. She had the chin hair of a young Hasid, and the voice of a shy schoolgirl. But she was unwell. You could see that right away. I thought she was an alcoholic. My friend said schizophrenic.

"Are you with the Republicans or the Democrats?" she asked me. I had an Obama sticker right on my crazy vest which was maybe six inches from her nose, but I answered her anyway.

"Democrats," I said. I suddenly realized that the two boys were no longer beside me. They were across the street. And down the block.

"Oh, yeah? I like that one...oh, what is his name...Obamy?" It wasn't good. Curse those boys for ditching me! "Are you, uh, yous are workin' for that Obamy?" I explained that we were volunteers. She said she wanted to volunteer as well. She asked me where the office was located and I told her. "Oh yeah," she said. "Right by the Medical Center right? You turn right, that Medical Center is just down the road there."

The only thing I had done in Scranton was arrive and buy lunch.

"I'm not sure..." I managed.

"Oh, gosh, it's right there, isn't it? You from here?"


"It's right there next to the Medical Center!" I remembered that it was near the Curry Donuts. I told her as much.

"I spent all day cleaning out my attic," she moaned. "I don't know what I'm gonna do about the basement." I nodded with understanding. "What's your name?" she asked me. "Maria? Or Debra?"

"Sure," I said. "Debra. Why not?"

"I want to call you Debra," she said.

"Okay, yeah," I said. "You can call me Debra."

She looked at me for a second.

"What's with those crazy boots, Debra?" she asked me.

She drove away pretty soon after that.

Obama won Lackawanna County. FYI.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Last night, as I was walking home, I found this sign tossed in the garbage:

It was quite heartwarming, I must say, to see someone toss out their hard-earned fury with the trash. Indicators that we are at the end of a dark era abound, and for someone like me, who is having a lot of difficulty absorbing the magnitude of our accomplishment, gestures like the one made by my relieved lefty neighbor can be very helpful.

I say our accomplishment for two reasons. The first, and most poetic, is for the reemergence of the American Collective as a coalition of reasonable individuals. Ours is a country founded on angry action in the face of inept or immoral governance, and the size of our most recent refusal to fall prey to more inadequate leadership is inspiring.

The second reason why I take some ownership of the success of Obama's campaign is because I volunteered. Twice. The first, and undoubtedly more effectual of my volunteerships happened in Philly during the primary. I was in North Philly, an African American inner-city community, where I had a lot of interesting conversations. Here is the summary of my experience that I wrote in an email at the time:

One woman said to me, "I don't like that Hillary, she cries too much. She's always singing the blues." (I sort of loved the image of HRC leaning into the mic at a debate and busting out "My Man's Gone Now"). A lot of people were concerned for Obama's health, convinced he would be assassinated. I also talked to a lot of folks who had given up hope for their place in civic life. "We're lost up here," said a man I met in a laundromat while he sat on a table, sipping a beer. "Nobody even knows we're here." One guy I met in front of a church kept turning around to look at me as he was walking away. "You shouldn't get so worked up," he said, "You're only going to get disappointed." "Better to be disappointed and know you tried," I called back. He smiled wide at me, shook his head. "That was a low blow," he said. "I wasn't expecting you to say that!" I saw something in the smile...hope? It seemed like hope.
It was really wonderful to talk to people who had not decided, or hadn't given the primary too much thought. It was very empowering to be armed with such a positive message, to have such confidence in my candidate. There were plenty of people who paid a little attention and plenty of others who had latched onto only snippets of information garnered from who knows where. One crazed Hillary supporter in the laundromat screamed out, "He is in with Bush! Obama is in with Bush!" When I asked her where she learned that she just rolled her eyes and said, "TV." She didn't let her guard down very far, but I could detect a little shock in her eyes when I told her that Clinton had voted in support of the war in Iraq. And you should have heard the other folks in the place when I mentioned the war. "What are we doing over there?" the guy with the beer asked. "It's not our war!"
I also volunteered in Scranton before the general election. More on that to come...