Friday, September 26, 2008

Economic Crisis Boils My Blood At Independence Hall

When I recently held my grandson, Quinlan, for a photo in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, tears happened. It was one of those times when I felt the Revolutionary War and Patriot bloodline that runs thru me pulse over to Quinlan—even though he's a toddler.

My blood began that slow boil. Let me explain.

The glorious daughters and son-in-laws that spouse and I are blessed with, celebrated our SIX-OH DEAR! time with a whirlwind tour of Philly, NYC, and a mini-urban respite on Long Beach Island, NJ.

Our NYC visit included the Lion King on Broadway (Note to EP: It was a cartoon but a pleasant lift from the news.) and, of course , the tourists' tour of Manhattan: Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and Wall Street. And that's where it all began for me.

Wall Street was electric and almost overwhelming. Media was everywhere waiting. Pensive people were everywhere waiting.The old journalist in me started clicking photos, while a French television team cornered daughter Ocean for a person-on-the street interview.

"Wow," I thought, "this is the real deal." Several well-dressed young professionals passed by with boxes and luggage in tow. Their jobs dissolved that day. Everything I've ever read about the fall of capitalism was coming true. We were witness to the ugly arm of today's disaster capitalism.

Fall's colors were only a hint, but the weather was perfect in Philadelphia. There was no way I could not be there and not visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Understand that my ancestors marched with George Washington against wrong-doing and tyranny. So as my grandson and the rest of us sat on the cool lawns around the sanctum of our Constitution's beginnings, my blood boiled (No! It wasn't a hot flash.) For eight years, tic by tic, our country's most precious document has been ravaged. Our leaders instilled fear instead of courage. I feel like our new language should be baa-baa.

And to defend this abomination on our American foundation is wrong. Wrong. Wrong. It's time to strap the huevos back on and bring America back to its bravery, honesty, and forthrightness. Get out of the closet, turn on the lights and get a grip on what is going on around us. We didn't fight the Revolutionary War because we're a docile people. It's time to collectively get our minds, bodies and souls back in shape and just say no to this dark-rooted diatribe.

Our terrorist enemies are laughing their beards off. They don't need to attack us here anymore. We're doing a fine job of it ourselves.


Photos: Quinlan and his Moire at Independence Hall
Santa Fe Mother Blogger and Spouse at Lion King on Broadway
Daughter Ocean on Wall Street Interviewed by French Television

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stuck In Needles, CA As The World Ends

When the temp hit 110 degrees Fahrenheit and the power went out, it looked like the end of the world and I was stuck in Needles, CA.

Spouse and I were on the road for ten hours, heading west for some QT with the beach. The ride brought torrential rains in Flagstaff, lightning strikes to the pavement on Interstate 40, and more blinding rain. Needles—the questionable desert oasis--wasn't far, and Motel 6 always has its light on for a quick night's sleep alongside our traveling cat, Mouser.

We made ourselves and the cat at home at the M6, schlepped through the stifling 110-degree air over to Denny's for an icy chicken salad and iced tea. The sky blackened, spiraled wind-gusts roared pass our view window, and a few showy lightning strikes crossed the wicked sky. Waitresses chatted and yucked around with the three other customers, and really bad music slipped through the really badder speakers.

"Crack!" "Pop!" Silence. Darkness.

I asked our waitress to fill my cup with more tea and a side cup of ice—just in case. The storm continued, but the electrical power ceased, desisted and died. The restaurant's shift manager decided to shut 'er down. We shoveled our warming chicken salads down, counted out exact change for our bill and headed back to M6. Mouser was fine. He loves heat AND he wasn't in the car. He took to the window sill and smirked at the arriving guests and their pets.

"Hey, we have some wine in the ice chest," I recalled to spouse. Like superman to a crime scene, he was on it. Wine opened and plastic cups filled, we pulled our motel chairs outside thinking that at the very least the storm's winds would cool us down until power was back up and those noisy air conditioners would rattle us to sleep.

Single lightning bolts turned to web-like fireworks against the coal skies. The air seemed to turn red and I started thinking about Revelations. We looked out over the Colorado River where it took its Spanish name seriously. The temps didn't really lower by much, there was no a/c and we were witnessing the world's end and stuck in Needles.

I recanted my bad ways: No more swearing at stupid drivers and nincompoops; no more driving over the posted speed limit; no more lusting after chocolate when others must go without; no more gossip; no more calling annoying sales people Ferengi ; no more not flossing my teeth when I'm too tired; and no more wishing I had more when I have enough.

Meanwhile, the grumpy guy next to our room told all of us to "take our party someplace else." "All of us" were our new best friends—the other guests at the M6 who couldn't take the heat of the sealed tight and severely hot rooms. We shared our stories and photos of grand kids.

My cup of ice waned as did my energy. I had to lie down. So into the cold shower I went before stretching out against the warm sheets. It took three more hours of four cold showers, and several wet wash rags across my forehead until I knew that the world wasn't really ending after all.