Friday, November 13, 2009

It's the Great Potato, Charlie Brown!

The front of my office consists almost entirely of glass squares, so it is like working in a phone booth.

I'm sitting at my desk typing away on my laptop and I happen to glance up.

Typically the cubicle in front of me is unoccupied, since the tenant relocated to a southern state and works from home. She is required to make an appearance once a month, so sometimes she'll appear - tan and miserable to leave her home and nice weather and come to NJ where inhospitable weather always seems to suggest that she made the right choice.

I glanced up and there she was, leaning forward into her deep black handbag. I watched idly, as she rummaged through determinedly. With a sigh, she sunk back into her chair, withdrawing her hand and clutching what looked like a giant, lumpy, brown rock. I watched with interest as she brought the dome shaped tip to her mouth and bit it off without a wince. Bright orange flesh appeared and I realized she was chewing hurriedly on a large, whole yam.

I would expect this kind of treatment of a pear, a peach, an apple. A tomato would be a stretch, but I could handle it. This, though. This was something.

A coworker happened by and remarked that she might want to heat it up to which she replied that she had cooked it that morning in the microwave in her hotel room and she liked it room temperature and was finding it delicious.

She joined me at lunch although she'd long since finished the tuber. I asked her if she was dieting and she admitted that she was trying to lower her cholesterol. I didn't press the issue, because she seemed to be very nonchalant about eating a large, whole, unbuttered, unquartered, unbrown-sugared big, honking sweet potato.

She chased the potato with some Halloween candy later in the afternoon.

She's gone home, but I'm left wondering about what other vegetables she's mistreating back home where the weather is nicer and hopefully, the people more forgiving. Me, I'm still thinking, "It's freaking weird to take a whole, cooked sweet potato out of your purse and just start gnawing on it."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rockstar Politics

Tonight is Election night for the governor of NJ, as well as the mayor in my town. I can't help but think about the process. Everyone blames Corzine for the state's ills - the loss of business to the state, the loss of jobs for the people, the ever-rising exorbitant cost of living here. It sucks to be a governor during a recession. This is not to say that I agree or disagree with him, it just must be a lot easier to operate when budgets aren't in the red and people aren't wandering around angrily, out of work and disgruntled. It must be nice to have enough money to preserve some open space, while it must be terrible to have to send your Department of Public Works crew on furloughs.

That being said, I still don't get the Obama thing. I think he blindsided everyone - seemingly coming out of nowhere to become the President. Who was he before? He seems like the kind of guy who can tell a good joke. The kind of who can deliver a funny line with good comedic timing. He looks nice in a suit, married a woman who puts on a nice dress and whose defined arms and toned body make her look like she belongs on the red carpet. This seems in keeping with the voyeuristic nature of how everything is going these days. We're not content to hear words, we need to see pictures, too. It has to be the complete package - white teeth, clear skin, a nice figure, good clothes, well spoken and palatable. Someone who fits into any group. A chameleon. A tux in one room addressing "gentleman" and a pair of artfully distressed blue jeans in the next addressing the "folks."

The problem is that the most interesting thinkers, the deepest thinkers often have weird hair or bad clothes or worse yet, love-handles. They speak with emotion, they speak off the cuff, they speak with passion and conviction and sometimes say the things we don't want to hear. But, there's no place for them anymore.

Today, we want Tweets, we want clever soundbytes that are quickly and easily digested that require little processing, that fall easily on our ears and allow us to escape unscathed, unmoved, unharmed. We want to hear good things - more jobs, less taxes, bail us out, help us out. Give me more! Save me! Help me!

I guess this is another reason why I like talk radio and books.