Saturday, January 24, 2009

It’s Special
I was 27 years old when Barrack Obama became president of the United States. I stood with 10,000 Berkeleyans and listened to civil rights activists talk about the historicity of what we were watching on the big screen TV in front of us. The Chinese women next to me cried when the band played the Star Spangled Banner; the locals hissed when Dick Cheney rolled down the red carpet for the last time; the middle aged woman behind me muttered “thank-you” when a rainbow-colored man yelled “Queers too!” to Rick Warren’s affirmation that God made all things. We clapped and yelled and people exchanged hugs and rang bells and we had a new president.
I still think of our time here in San Francisco as a chance to enact another in our series of youthful feuilletons of heady atmospheres: pot-smoking hippies, bushwacking backwoodsmen, tree hugging ecologists and eventually Chinese interrogators and Turkic-Muslim interlocutors. Yet, despite the long-term avoidance of serious labour which underscores our decision to move here – we are also learning or relearning how to live with each other and the world.
For instance here in Berkeley – the epicenter of American Leftists – people take civil society so seriously that they avoid jay-walking – it seems that in their eyes the laws of the community are laws they themselves created rather than laws which were imposed on them by an impersonal man in an office somewhere downtown. Also, I’ve started mopping the floor every Friday, making me more like Jennifer than ever before. Jennifer started parallel parking (if the spot is big enough) and drinking coffee every morning and running with me every Saturday (on the downhills). It seems we are increasingly joined at the hip and walking in sync.


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