The last two or three years I worked were a strange mix.
I traveled a lot. I hated the travel, but was quite intrigued with the places to which I traveled…when I rarely got to actually see them.
The buttes of Scottsdale were novel to see…through the sliding panel of my hotel room. The stunted, green-deprived palette ditto…through the rental car windshield.
The fierce mountains looming over Anchorage didn’t intimidate me as much as navigating the dust and gravel-strewn intersections of sections of town where no cab nor cruise ship bravely went.
Streaking between the hurricane-scraped concrete slabs of Biloxi and the white, featureless sands of the Gulf to get to the Mecca of the local casino was a mite disheartening.
Boston, a week after their two biggest snowstorms in 20 years was…white.
Edmonton in February was……not……Biloxi.
And getting home was no picnic either.
Days lost to never-ending red-eye flights from Seward’s Folly, landing on less-than-the-prudent number of wheels in the midst of flashing red lights in Chicago, returning to Atlanta because the runway in Lexington was considered a touch too short for the pilot’s liking that evening, luggage too often scheduling an itinerary of its own…
…no, no picnic.
The assignments in Kentucky were mostly delightful.
I enjoyed the city council meetings I attended in Danville and Bowling Green and Hurstbourne and, of course Louisville and Lexington. I found them to be mostly validating in their local expressions of democracy.
There were the odd exceptions.
One night, I found myself in an obviously expensive house in Louisville surrounded by dark suits and dead animals. Big game trophies jutted their deceased faces and horns from every wall. I did a quick check to be sure Marlin Perkins was not in attendance. He was not.
One of our major political candidates running for re-election at the time was.
He looked pitiful and small. His handshake was pitiful and small.
I felt pitiful and small.
A year or so later, I was invited to an afternoon meeting with another of our major political candidates running for re-election at that time.
There were about 50 dark suits there, no dead animals, two suits were female, none were other than white as far as I could determine. And, except for me, everyone’s head bobbled…for real.
The candidate’s head cocked and bobbled as he pretended to be discovering for the first time the same points he had been making for two years. The dark suits’ heads bobbled in agreement.
It wasn’t that he was sounding crazy, but the bobbling heads were pretty funny.
And the big eyes on the younger members of the throng…you know what I mean…those big rookie baseball player eyes that say; “Ah’m jes’ glad to be here an’ I hope I can help the team win some games.”
It was when the candidate had responded to a question with an implication that after a “welfare mother” had birthed two or three young’uns that maybe she shouldn’t be birthin’ anymore…I surveyed the room to see all those dark suits still a’bobbin’ those heads.
…we can surely do better than this.