"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What it's like round here

I'm about to stray into matters political, in a purely observational fashion.

First, world politics. It feels odd to feel so profoundly shocked and deeply saddened by a tragedy that at the same time isn't surprising. The assasination of Benazir Bhutto is a grave misfortune--another trial for a political family and a polarised nation that have suffered countless identically senseless deaths.

Now, national politics--which for me and most in my area, is local. (Don't worry--No endorsements, no campaigning!) The scene here is more peaceable, but very, very active. Our phones ring early and often...pollsters, mostly. We don't usually pick up...unless we hear an identifiable voice on the answerphone. Family or friend, that is. If we hear the voice someone we only recognise from watching C-SPAN, we ignore it. Last night when the Chap did pick up and promptly began answering questions ("Yes" "Yes" "No") and then dropped a name, I learnt for the first time who he's likely voting for in the January 8th primary.

This morning, heading out for my Thursday rounds for the final time this year (next week my schedule changes significantly) I spotted something most unusual--something out-of-staters will probably not understand. When approaching the roundabout in my town, I noticed a new blue-red political sign poking up from the mound of sloppy, darkening snow.


If you're not from here, and perhaps even if you are, you're thinking, "What? Who?

Yes, Virginia, there really is a man called Mark Klein running for President. He's a retired psychiatrist. Meaning Ron Paul isn't the only doctor who'll appear on our ballot.

What makes the Granite State's Presidential Primary unique is the fact that any qualified person--native U.S. citizen meeting the age requirements--willing to plunk down $1000 in our Secretary of State's office can run for President. Don't believe me? Read this. It lists all our 2008 hopefuls.

Aren't you surprised how many such persons exist? I always am.

You might also be surprised to know that people can "run" for Vice President in our primary. I actually know somebody who's doing it: my own state senator.

Before my morning mandolin lesson I stopped at Staples to stock up on memory cards, which I suddenly need a lot of. After my lesson I copied research material at Kinko's. Leaving the shopping area I noted how the huge 4-way intersection was decorated on all sides with Ron Paul political signs. Two volunteers holding very large signs waved vigorously at passing cars, while being pelted with big cold raindrops.

I next braved a shopping mall. It's ringed round with Mike Gravel signs, ginormous ones.

I visted a single store where I promptly off-loaded a tiny portion of my Christmas gift money on snazzy (seriously marked down) new garments in which to start out the next legislative session. Heading home, I spotted a second Mark Klein sign along the highway.

Dropped off a couple of books at the library, where a staffer was cleaning the windows in the Porter Reading Area. Thanks!

On the last leg of my homeward drive the heavy rain turned to sleet which was transformed into snow by the time I reached the road that leads to my road. Several inches are supposed to be coming. That should freshen up the rapidly browning snow mounds along our thoroughfares. They need it!

The Chap is being let out early due to the weather.

Within the past few minutes I've unsubscribed from the emailing lists of the many, many campaigns that auto-added me in recent months. Two weeks from today, this state will quiet down and, as they say on the soaps, "Get on with its life". Between now and then, all eyes--and pollsters' ears--are upon us.

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