Letter From California
08/26/07 0644.11 pst
San Jose, California
At this stage in my life I have what is a very typical Sunday for me: fuel the Honda, making sure hard wax is on hand for that job next week, weed the secondary and tertiary rose gardens, go grocery shopping, clean the kitchen, cook beans, do laundry, cook dinner, spend some time with my daughter.
I mentioned sorta glumly to my priest once long ago that I was house-bound yet again. “Aren’t you pretty good at that?” she asked, and I had to admit she had a point: I love my little place, I don’t care to leave it much, really, and I’m always doing something to make my little home a safe, sane, happy nourishing environment, with what powers and skills I have, that is.
It’s not enough to say certain evolutions are completed, I have standards, serious standards, and they simply aren’t compromised: in season there are always two vases of fresh home roses, candles lit for every dinner, bathroom cleaned at least twice a week, sheets changed twice a week, windows always clean, lawns cut in specific consistent patterns, garage organized and stocked with emergency supplies, vacuuming three times a week, all three rose gardens blazing from tender care, indoor/outdoor plumbing, telecommunication, electrical, computing and drainage systems in 100% working order, front lot swept every Wednesday, all cooking fresh and of the best possible nutrition and quality, specific expensive brands of soap and toilet paper, cars always shiny and 100% maintained…
When David Neiwert recently posted his experience as primary caregiver to his daughter it reminded me I was the primary caregiver for the first year of my daughter’s life. As I watched the various reactions to David's post around blogtopia it finally dawned on me that my anal Betty Crocker utopia was not exactly the typical male American experience, but ultimately I was puzzled that so many bloggers felt compelled to comment on his domestic life. I could give a flying fuck what anyone thinks my masculinity is like, I never think about it. Why would anyone else?
As I go through the various evolutions it’s occurred to me how much different it would be if there more than one child in the house, and it’s made me extremely sympathetic over the years toward citizens who don’t pay attention to politics, there simply isn’t enough time. I still think it’s a serious failing in life as an American, but I understand the detachment much better now.
Just as an experiment over the last year I specifically detached myself from watching the California budget process, trying to see it through the eyes of a busy parent and homeowner who sometimes watched the local news, just scanning the headlines to see how it was going.
The first surprise at the very start was the jack-in-the-box policy pop of healthcare for all Californians. Huh? When did this become a goal of the Terminator? Beats me.
What it exactly reminded me of, in fact, was the juvenile statements from young teens who blurt out from nowhere some impossible goal in life, like Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie October Sky when he says “I’m gonna build a rocket,” but of course unlike the movie Arnie stayed very much to reality script, the idea from nowhere was lobbied for from nowhere and nonexistent in the public eye for months, nobody gave a shit or expected it to happen.
Naturally it didn’t, and even just one day after the budget was finally passed the Los Angeles Times has not a word about healthcare. Jesus, my daughter is more mature than this, especially after watching 8 weeks of stalemate that classically ended by Arnie doing something in the greatest Republican tradition: be stupid and deliberately hurt our little people, it’s what gives Republicans a hard-on, it’s true.
But it was striking how tiny the California budget was in the consciousness of those scantly paying attention; after today’s coverage no one will think of it again this year. What for?
Firedoglake had Jerry McNerny at their blog Friday night, and I asked him about his support to persecute medical marijuana growers. McNerny knows only a tiny percentage of his constituents knew about this disgusting mean disgrace, and even less would remember in 30 days, Americans work hard and are busy. Political junkies forget how all American politicians know how detached their constituents are, voters rarely hold politicians accountable for the countless small, shitty acts they perform every year.
Oh well, there are homes to maintain, children to raise, jobs to slog through 50 hours a week. There’s a lot of very real work to do, and the distasteful immaturity from Sacramento is thankfully instantly shuttled into the past.