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Change is in the air

In my life, most historic moments of the "Where were you when...?" variety have been the tragic ones. Not all, but certainly the ones that spring readily to mind, for which I have definite answers and the vivid mental images to go with them.

When Challenger exploded in a bright January sky, I was in the science room of Bennett High School, learning chemistry from a man who knew he'd never pass the physical but had applied anyway for the teacher's seat eventually awarded to Christa McAuliffe. When the phone rang in the middle of class, he said not a single word after his initial "Hello," just quietly hung up, wheeled the TV to the front of the room, and turned it on.

When the Twin Towers went down, I spent the day glued to the NPR coverage and to the emails flying fast and furious on the GateGoers list, sharing the shock with hundreds of friends I mostly wouldn't meet in person for another week, not knowing whether we would get to travel to Vancouver and meet at all. It was hours before I emerged from my office/sewing room to face the images on TV.

By contrast, when the Berlin Wall was demolished? I was... err... somewhere at Michigan State? Possibly the TV lounge, possibly in class, not entirely sure. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison? Beats me.

But this Tuesday night... ah, that I will always know. When Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania were called. When the cameras panned over the mass of excited humanity in Grant Park (and I scanned in vain for neonhummingbird or tzikeh). When the electoral count passed 300 and kept climbing. When John McCain proved himself still capable of the grace and class his campaign sorely lacked, despite booing from a scattered few who evidently needed the example.

When Barack Obama stepped onstage as the President-Elect of the United States... Where was I? (Besides marveling at Malia topping her daddy's shoulder, in contrast to the way-past-bedtime little girl he carried onto the stage of the Senate victory celebration four years ago?)

Moving the last of our furniture and belongings outside a six-foot radius from the eleven windows still original to our 100-year-old house, and taking down blinds and drapes and hardware. I took a break to watch the speech over two coffee tables stacked on top of one another and loaded down with books, seated on a disembodied unit of the corner sectional in our living room. The inside of our house looks like a tornado hit it, and it took brainiacfive and me the better part of four days to make it that way. On purpose.

But we have shiny new windows, with double panes and easy opening/closing and magical UV-cutting powerz and practically invisible screens that will keep out tinier bugs.

And now it'll probably take even longer to get things back to normal. Or rather, better than normal, because I feel a big Martha Stewart attack coming on. Those additional shelves we've been talking about putting in the spare room since before we even moved in, to actually display more of my dolls and their stuff. (Yes, some of my dolls have their own stuff. Let's move on.) Rearranging the library and doing something about those boxes of paperbacks. New blinds for the entry hall to match the ones in the adjacent living room.

Installing the windows took a single day, and boy, are they beautiful. But even though it was a lot of work to get to that day, we know we're not done.

I didn't plan this metaphor, I swear. The timing is all down to Renewal by Anderson. ;-D

See, I didn't vote for Barack Obama because he's a Democrat. (Independent as they come, thanks much.) I didn't vote for him because he's biracial, or because he's got ears like my grandpa's and a killer smile, or even because he can string sentences together like nobody's business. I didn't vote for a "vision." It's true now and it was true in the Senate election four years ago: I voted for him because I believe that he is best suited to do the job we're hiring him to do.

I believe he looks at the world around him and strives to see it as clearly as humanly possible. I believe he gauges what he sees and says "How can we make this better?" And, most importantly, I believe he does not believe he knows all the answers to that question. Some people call that a liability. I call it a necessity. I didn't vote for a Grand Plan. I voted for the ability to make and adapt plans, based on the reality before him and with the input of the knowledgeable people around him, at any given time.

I voted for the guy I believe to be ready to roll up his sleeves and move all the furniture and stuff back where it belongs, however long it takes. Especially when some of it needs cleaned or repaired or replaced or just carefully considered to see if it might not work better somewhere else. And who knows if a year from now, the best position for that chair might be something entirely different? The eyes that will see the room as it is then are the ones I want looking at the world from the Oval Office.

Homes and nations are living things, and as such are always works in progress. You can't say "when it's finished," because it's never going to be. There's always more to do.

Change isn't an event. It's a constant.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 6th, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)
Speaking of change, Happy Birthday! As you change from one year of your life into the next, I hope that it's a great one!
Nov. 6th, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks!! It's shaping up pretty well so far...
Nov. 6th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
Well said. Happy birthday!
Nov. 7th, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
Thankyouthankyou! And I forgot to say I love the new icon. Such a great shot.
Nov. 7th, 2008 01:30 am (UTC)
Many happy returns! And yay new windows!
Nov. 7th, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)
Nov. 7th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
Beautifully put, and happy birthday. :)
Nov. 7th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! {{{ hugs }}}
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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