Sunday, September 21, 2008

One vote, one never-ending means of harassment

“Hello, this is your friend and neighbor, Candidate So-and-so, and I’m calling to alert you, my good friend and neighbor, about the challenges and issues facing us as a group of good friends and neighbors…”

I never knew I had so many good friends until this election season rolled around. How do I know they are my good friends? They tell me so, every day, over the phone and through my mailbox. Apparently, I’m smart, savvy, above average in almost every way possible. They like me. They like my family. My needs may have been ignored in the past, but now that my special qualities are known that’s about to change. But, they tell me, I’m also a little bit blinded, deluded by messages of hope or change, probably confused by all the rhetoric floating around about this issue or that scandal. Gosh, I may even be somewhat stupid for not affiliating with the right party in the first place. They’re very understanding though, and so helpful.

My voter’s registration card bears the word “Independent.” In the past, that meant I was not constantly solicited for donations. A likeable feature, I figured, since I would rather give my charitable dollars to organizations that actually help people in need. People need food, shelter and proper health care before they need to learn how to become ultra-conservative right-wingers, or so I thought. My invitations to the $1000 plate chicken dinners with candidates were forever getting lost in the mail. Cinderella never got invited to the ball. This year, that glaring error has been remedied. I’ve gone A-list, baby. PACs, parties, people of every stripe want me, want 5 minutes of my valuable time. Bring your wallet (and your precious vote.)

This election year, more than most, “Independent” is the holy grail. I’ve been thrust from my comfortable, rarely canvassed anonymity to everyone’s BFF. They call me, mostly on weekends and after 6pm on weekdays, just to say hi (that’s about all I hear before the connection is severed anyway.) I’d be flattered at all this loving attention lavished on little ol’ me if the candidates and their minion didn’t drool so much over my voter’s registration card, it’s messing up my jeans.

So, to the guy who’s called me every day for the last 2 weeks, there’s no extra points for persistence in this game, pal. To bigoted freak who called yesterday about Prop 201, you’re giving Christians a bad rep. Stop it. To John and Barack, I’m sure you mean well but I don’t care if you’re handing out solid gold bars with every vote, I know spin when I hear it. To all the minor candidates who make so free with my unpublished, Do Not Call listed phone number, I don’t recall when or where we became good friends, your names are absent from my Christmas card list. If you are the neighbor who borrowed our folding table and chairs though, I want them back.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Need Things

I need things.
I need tighter skin and looser pants.
I need to pick a realistic hair color, then really commit.
I need to increase my reading speed by a factor of 10, my writing by a factor of 15 and my wit, well, faster than that.
I need to learn four new languages by the end of the year; Italian, Spanish, Mandarin and HTML.
I need to guide my children through the Valley of Death and the parts of speech.
I need master the crock pot and sneaking broccoli into the brownies.
I need a more potent weapon in my battle against the Giant Fascist Dust Bunnies.
I need to discuss topics that haven’t been smeared with kid prints, licked by the dog or gnawed on by hamsters.
I need to do downward facing dog on purpose, not just to retrieve Kendall’s broken (but still lucky) eye off her blinded (but still lucky) bear, off the floor.
I need to stop and smell the roses, then while I’m down there I need to pull some weeds, then while I’m pulling weeds I need to remember where I left my favorite garnet earring.
I need to understand string theory and why I feel so insulted after seeing an episode of “Family Guy.”
I need to know where everything is, how it works, what to expect of it in the future and who to call when it starts making strange buzzing noises.
I need to breathe deeper and eat lighter.
I need more time.
More time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A warning to my oppressors

I started my odyssey through college last week. My class schedule looks like this:

Technical Communication
Multimedia Writing
Marginalized Populations in Europe 1000-1900 AD
Women in Contemporary Society

Except for the format, Technical Communications and Multimedia Writing could be interchangeable and except for the time period, Marginalized Populations and Women in Contemporary Society could be the very same class. I figure by the end of the semester I should be very adept at creating visually stimulating rants on oppression.

During Week #1 I learned the following…
I am a woman
Women have been oppressed for a very long time
During the Middle Ages, God said women and Jews need to be oppressed because women are lustful and Jews eat Christian babies at Passover
Interactive websites are cool
The 202 at 5 pm is a flipping parking lot
Don’t drink a bunch of water before getting on the 202 at 5 pm

Look over the list, maybe there’s something you can use in it. You won’t be tested later.

One of the interesting features of “new school” is this glaring lack of testing. The entire semester I will have to take only 2 tests in one class and have no finals for any of them. My recurring nightmare of studying all night, then sleeping through the final has become anecdotal and obsolete. Where’s my cramming, my cleverly disguised crib notes? Where is my caffeine-edged regurgitation of chapter and sub-chapter headings? What will I do with all these darn #2 pencils and Blue Books? They are lost to me forever. Alas.

Instead I have papers and projects to do. Lots of papers and gargantuan projects in lieu of cramming useless facts into my head then core-dumping them on to a piece of paper during a test. What do these people want me to do? Apply knowledge? What? I want my machine-scored testing back. I want to fill in the circle completely with a #2 pencil while making no other marks on the paper. I want to turn my paper over and close my test booklet when I’m done. I want my easy A, you educational oppressors.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Marilyn Frye’s seminal article “Oppression.”

“We hear that oppressing is oppressive to those who oppress as well as to those they oppress.”

Believe it.