Sunday, October 25, 2009

That Audience of One

Is Obama lost? He’s flying around hither dither, doing fundraisers and giving speeches about which no one gives a damn. It makes no sense to me. If I were advising him, I would suggest that he need to give the appearance of working hard to make change, thereby making a difference and fulfilling his promise to the nation. Note I said ‘appearance,’ because we all know that in Washington, as in most places and professions, it’s all about the perception. Perception is reality and if you can create the ‘smoke and mirrors’ necessary, whatever is your reality will be the public perception.

Hope that’s not too complicated to understand which explains why, of late, the only person to whom I have been confessing my inner core thoughts, about things like politics and life, is me. It happens quite unexpectedly. I will be walking down the street and the next thing I know I’m talking about one issue or another. Yesterday, when I saw the President in fundraising mode, I said, “What is he thinking? People are unemployed and starving, an additional 40,000 young men and women are going to have to serve in Afghanistan, the health care negotiations continue with limited success. What is he thinking?”

When I realize I’m doing this, I pretend I have a Bluetooth in my ear so strangers who pass by don’t think I’m nuts. In a routine I heard lately, Robin Williams said, “It used to be that we locked up people who talked to themselves. But now it’s hard to tell the sane people from the crazy ones since everyone who has a Bluetooth is walking down the street talking to themselves.” It seems to work and I remain free to blurt wherever.

A few days ago I was on the treadmill watching TV when there was an announcement about the police finding the body of a seven year old girl missing from Florida. I was at a fitness facility so I wasn’t alone. And when I looked away from the TV I noticed that people were staring at me. I had apparently had quite a discussion with myself about the cruelty of the kidnapper, and the pain the parents must have been suffering. When you wear earphones, it’s hard to moderate your volume—and mine was obviously turned up to ‘high.’

There are times when I am writing, or working that I find myself commenting on the value of my own work. Usually something like, “your spelling is not very good anymore – thank God for spell check”. Or, “That makes absolutely no sense, what happened to your ability to think like someone with a brain.” And even, “Where is the memory you used to have for people, places and things?” If I am cooking, I converse with the ingredients to inquire about whether or not I used enough of them. “Hello Mr. Salt, I want to use you sparingly because too much of you is not healthy.” There are even times when I pretend to be my mother or a friend and I talk as though they had inhabited my body and mind for those few minutes. I’m not sure if I change my voice to replicate theirs, but it is still done out loud, as opposed to in my mind.

Last night, we went to see Anna Deavere Smith in “Let Me Down Easy”. It is a one woman show where Anna, as 20 different characters (based on real people), reflects about death. It is clear that Anna has interviewed the people and at times they speak to her –being them. Although it is performed, as opposed to real life, it is the closest anything has come to mirroring my vocal behavior. The biggest difference is that she gets paid for her dialogue and I simply reprimand myself for acting like a dope. OK, there are other differences like her talent, ability to be creative, and prominence, but you get the point. Enough about talent, let’s get back to me. When I realize I am having this conversation with myself and maybe one or two inanimate objects, I say to myself, “Who do you think you are talking to?” Then I answer myself out loud and say, “Does it matter. She is clearly agreeing with me.”

How unfortunate that we are all reluctant to express opinions about anything sensitive. For example, I respect the President and his ability to remain calm and thoughtful in the face of national hysteria about many things. However, I would like to see him use the power of the Presidency to do simple things –like eliminating ‘’don’t ask don’t tell.’ It would be nice if we all felt some movement forward. He has become an easy target for opponents, elected or otherwise. But this is not something I talk publicly with anyone but me… and, as of now, my trusted following. We’re just sayin’… Iris


Anonymous said...

I'm gonna have to get me one of those bluetooth earpieces.

nice post, Iris. I think a lot of us are thinking aloud these days. Too bad Dick Cheney isnt keeping his thoughts about his cousin to himself


Eric Rose said...

We had a Prime Minister up here in Canada that everyone thought was going to be great. He had all kinds of pizazz, had performed well as a Cabinet Minister etc. His campaign to oust the leader of his own party was well executed and he finally after was able to grasp the golden ring of power.

Well once in power he failed miserably! It seemed he was a great campaigner but a lousy leader. He could just not get his crap together and was finally dubbed Mr. Dithers by the media. His party took a drubbing in the next federal election and has not been heard from since.

I fear Obama may be the same type of person. A great campaigner but not possessing the leadership chops to tie it all together.

Those of us on the outside are not affected as much by the US media propaganda machine. We and can judge his actions a bit more detached and less affected by party allegiance.

Right now Obama is looking like a child who was cute as a toddler but as he grows older is shaping up into an awkward and indecisive teen. Hopefully he will mature into the job in short order.

Eric Rose said...

Geez I guess I should proof read my own stuff before I hit the post it button.

Iris&David said...

It's Ok Eric, we all hoped for a real change and right now it doesn't look like it will happen. How sad we all are about this.