Transfer #22 from Blogspot

Where the Liberals Are…

 

I spent about a day and a half in Chicago this last weekend (actually ended up spending more time traveling than I did IN the city – grrr – Northwest (!)) and I am proud to say I found out where the democrats have been hiding. Not the senators or house members or more prominent members of the ACLU – we know they've been on television defending and/or muttering about immigration.  More on that subject Thursday.  No, I found the delusioned, somewhat depressed democrats, those who voted for Obama, to never hear from him again. They are smoking and drinking beer in my friends Jean and Andrew's Ukrainian Village apartment.

I've known Jean for eleven years and Andrew for ten, and they are, hands down, my coolest friends. Now, just in case you are my friend, don't think I don't think you are cool. You are. You are VERY cool.  And you might also be beautiful dressers, sushi-eaters, hilarious story tellers, you probably contribute to society and my life in the most amazing way, so when I'm talking about cool here I'm not talking about them being my closest friends, or my funniest friends, or anything like that – I mean, quite simply, they are cool.  And I am decidedly not cool at all, but when I hang out with them once a year I feel peripherally cool, cool by association. So, there, I hope I've covered my ass. I love you all.  Anyway.

When I talk Jean and Andrew cool, I mean cool in that they stay up all night listening to the Clash and Billie Holiday, drinking Stella Artois lager and rehashing, with me and their motley crew of friends, everything Bush has done wrong since he took office. And I stay up with them, NOT tired. Which is an Anne Lamott kind of miracle.  They live in this old, cracking, huge apartment with pale yellow walls and dark wood floors and it's one of the constants in my life – the futon I always sleep on, the coffee with vanilla cream in the morning and a cup of tea in the afternoon, vodka midday and dancing to Otis Redding before dinner. It's what we do. Because we're cool.  Jean and Andrew are also the kind of people who don't pay for, say, furniture. Or food or jewelry or much of anything else, because most of their budget goes traveling the world – being world citizens. See what I mean? Cool.  I could never do it, but cool.

So this was the dialogue at about 4:00 in the morning Saturday, in case you were wondering about the location of the world's last liberals – picture the smoke from packs of cigarettes flying out the window, wine glasses drained, half-empty beer bottles resting between tired legs, some English band on the record player (yes, record player. Cool.)

Jim: I have…malaise. I have malaise. I'm not even going to the immigrant protest on Monday.
Jean: I took the day off work – we're going. You have to go.
Jim: No – I no longer care. You know all those emails from moveon.org? I just delete them now…
Myself: Me too. They send too many.
Jean: That's because they need us now more! YOu have to read your moveon.org emails!
Andrew: It's all bullshit. That's all it is, just…bullshit.
Venita: Exactly.
Jean: But, it can get better! There's only a few years left! We can change things…
Myself: Easy to say, with an Irish passport in hand..
Jean: Well, yes. I do sometimes pretend I'm Irish, what with marrying an Irishman and all…
Andrew: Do you know, that we are all, with all our money problems, in the top three percent of the world's wealth? I was astounded to find that out.
Venita: That's so depressing. That's…just…heartbreaking.  I want to go to Africa.
Myself: Me too.
Venita: Work in AIDS clinics. Save Darfur.
Jim: I want to be a republican so I can feel riteous.
Andrew:I want to be a republican so I can feel like a winner – I'd like for once to be on a winning team.
Jean: Isn't that where it's at? We were all the slowest, the worst dressed, the poorest kids in school – all of us here in this room.
Myself: I wasn't too poor.
Jean: NO, but you were lower middle class.  And we feel the need for – for justice. For the little guy.
Venita: Hilary Clinton. It's all going to be about Hilary Clinton.
Andrew: And condi! (throws his hands in the air; the room brightens momentarily at the possibility of a Clinton/Rice throw-down)
Venita: It will never happen – they'll throw Guiliani up there…
Myself: And he'll say '9/11' and 'terrorist'…
Jean: and that will be all she wrote

A pause.

Andrew: So, to Africa. Save Darfur. Save AIDS babies. Fight genocide.
Jim: Cause there isn't much left here…

So, from the sum total of the one day I spent in Chicago, I can comfortably say that young liberals are around, just mostly drunk and smoking and dreaming about Africa.  I think perhaps we can be mobilized (note Jean – optimism abounds!) but right now we're a bit pounded to bits, and could all use a vacation.  Updates as they occur.

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