So as a favor to a friend, I went to the big Harris County Democratic Headquarters Tuesday night (Election Night) to usher in the ObamaNation. It was interesting. Her husband was running for (and won, might I add) , a very high powered county position. She is very much a non-political wife and asked me, a one time political observer who’s called an election or two in front of a camera or behind a mic, to be her “Personal Press Attache”. I didn’t know what that entailed, exactly so I looked it up in the “Barney Frank Book of Arcane Terms for Democrats With Penchants for Blatant Nepotism”.
Apparently, ‘Personal Press Attache’ simply means political “drinking buddy” and usually, that means drinking on the DNC’s dime. So, suffice it to say my Lauridians, this staunch Republican braved shouts of “the current administration” followed by expletives, attached to “the mistakes of the past eight years”, followed by dangling participles, then additional expletives all night long. But yes, I bore the brunt of all these rabid, negative comments geared at Republicans to be there for my Democrat friend. I would ignore the evil things tossed blithely at my party to prove the that I was serious about title my friend bestowed upon me.
Therefore, I did her proud. I personally pressed my cute, little attache right up to that bar all night and and slammed back tomato juice, lime and the best Russian spud squeezings as Obamacrats from near and far praised Jesus and and a slew of deities from pantheons the likes of which Siddhartha himself would be unfamiliar.
Interesting thing about Democrats; especially our older black Democratic sisters. They fall to their knees a lot. I’ve seen them do it in times of shock and horror and in times of utter jubilation. When Obama was declared the winner; there were a lot of black women on their knees.
At least I think that’s what fervor fueled writhing looks like. I wasn’t sure. I’m Catholic.
The entire sight was alien to me. Not only as an Anglo woman, but politically, too. Histrionics are something we Republicans do not engage in. We don’t wail. We’re not demonstrative; not that way.
After four Blood Mary’s (with double Democratic shots, thank you very much) I found it rather comical. I laughed for a minute, until I saw their faces. Vodka + enemy territory + history=clarity (even alcohol induced variety).
I walked over to one woman; she was older, probably this side of 70, I would imagine. She was struggling to rise, so I helped her up to her feet. She must have thought I was a fellow Democrat just by my being there and she hugged me. “Isn’t this great?”, she asked.
I shook my head in a noncommittal way. Then, with a lot of vodka and Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary mix coursing through my veins, the cursed reporter in me came out. “Tell me, how do you really feel right now?”, I asked.
“I feel alive! I never thought this could ever happen in my lifetime. I grew up with segregation. I had to drink from a black only water fountain. I was even sent to segregated schools. I know all about riding in the back of the damn bus. And now we have a black president!!! I…I just can’t believe it!! A black president!! Praise Jesus!!!”
Then I looked in her large, black, care-worn eyes and I asked, “But he’s only half black. He’s also half white”.
She grabbed me by my shoulders and looked me in the eye and said, “Well then Honey, maybe that means the healing can begin just that much faster”.
And with that, she reveled on down the hallway–dancing, singing, laughing. Hugging other happy kneeling Democrats. There was joy there that night; they felt genuine hope and promise.
I just felt a little nauseous.
Healing? How ironic. She and the thousands of people around me felt Obama’s win would make the country whole again. I wondered what history books they’ve read. Did they not understand campaign rhetoric? And besides, what made this man’s bag o’lies any different than that of mean old Bush’s or Reagan’s or even Carter’s for the that matter? It’s just that Obama’s bullshit was tinged. If that sounds racist, fine. It’s a racist who thinks that just because Obama is half black that he’ll be able to make any significant change.
Or that his being half white would bring about change or healing any faster?
Wait, thinking that way doesn’t make you racist. It makes you ignorantly naive.
I stood there for a minute. I didn’t feel no “healin'”. I was unloved, unemployed, completely uncertain about my future and rather drunk and all those feelings and sentiments combined to make me feel completely discombobulated.
I was pissed off, actually.
My boyfriend had broken up with me, I’d lost my job, my computer was on the fritz, MY political party–MY Republicans lost the Presidential race, not to mention my beloved University of Texas Longhorns LOST to Texas Tech last weekend, falling from the #1 position atop the BCS poll. And now I’m surrounded by people who think that “the past eight years” were divisive ones??
I felt out of sorts the rest of the evening.
And then to make matters worse, I had a car accident the next morning. No, I wasn’t drunk. Stone cold sober, but it was a minor accident. I hit a dumpster containing Hurricane Ike debris sitting smack in the middle of a parking lot. I simply looked down one minute to find my garage gate key pad and boom!!! Front end crash, air bag deployed and no, those damn things aren’t made of Jiffy Pop. It was mostly cosmetic damage-or so I thought. The grand total? Just under eight grand. My only thought was why did this happen to me? Now? At this particular time? Why now? Why do bad things happen to me in multiples?? Is that the way of the world?
Heartbroken–AGAIN. Single—AGAIN. Unemployed—AGAIN—- I’m hemorrhaging what little money I’ve saved, car totaled, no joy; no hope. Emotionally, I was knuckle dragging and so far, Obama hadn’t done squat for me.
Simple truth is, all of these things, including Obama’s winning the presidency happened because I wasn’t watching where I was going. If a referee were there I swear he’d blow a whistle and stop the game for a “piling on” foul.
Whine…piss…moan. Whoa is me and kick the damn tire. Punch the dog. Poor sad sack LK; shit always happens to Laurie.
Well, yes it does happen and always will when you don’t watch where you’re going.
The next day I cried to my insurance adjuster; I cried to my vile, reprehensible ex-con tow truck driver who assured me, “they’s sure weren’t no dames like me in prison” and then I went back up to my tastefully appointed apartment to rid myself of the stench of “LOSER” that permeated from me and around me. As I was undressing, I looked down at a gift–a token of appreciation from my Democratic drinking buddy. I didn’t pay much attention to it when she handed it to me the night before, but it certainly caught my eye now. I walked right over to it. It was a vinyl bag of cosmetics, which were lovely in and of themselves, but what was written on the carrying case caught my eye.
It was called “Grace”.
philosophy: how you climb a mountain is just as important as you get down the mountain. And so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one big gigantic lesson. In the end, it all comes down to one word: grace. It’s how you accept winning and losing, joy and sorrow; good luck and bad luck, the sweet and the bitter; it’s being told yes and accepting being told no; it’s the brightness of good news and gut wrenching bad news; it’s enduring the darkness and then welcoming the light.
I stood there for a second. The Maybelline mixed with tears burned my eyes, but I felt ridiculously alive. We all cry joyful tears and sad ones, too; we experience heartache and heartfelt moments; we win, we lose, we all fall on our knees and I guess we sometimes depend on the kindness of strangers to help us get back up on our feet. Even if these strangers look or think differently in so many ways. Help comes in all forms. Even printed on the tops of cosmetic carrying cases.
It’s the grace of giving; it’s the grace of receiving and sometimes, those lines are wonderfully; beautifully blurred.
I haven’t always exhibited grace, but I will try to do so–even as I refrain from gagging as the Pollyanna-minded around me believe Obama is saving grace. He isn’t, but from this point on I will endeavor to be patient with them and him. I also intend to learn one very valuable lesson amid the chaotic inertia that’s currently running my life—I WILL learn that achieving grace is often the result of what happens when we watch where we’re going.
Therefore, I implore you–keep your eyes open.
Seek grace. I hear it’s amazing.
And it will most assuredly keep you from being like them dames in prison.