Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obamanauguration: One More Excuse to Buy a Piñata

This morning, at around 10:30 Nica time, one nonprofit office inside INATEC (or at least a few of us) will sit quietly around a single computer screen to save bandwidth, in anticipation of an event happening thousands of miles and days of travel away, in a country that, for many, isn’t necessarily their own. They will wait patiently a few minutes longer, then perhaps a touch less patiently, for a slow internet connection to buffer the video feed, and during this time they will be thinking of the altered course ahead of them, ahead of all of us, the changing manner in which world affairs will be directed, considering the powerful words and refreshing honesty to appear whenever the video feed finally loads. I will be thinking about the piñata.

Sure, there will be many things to look forward to: an improved economic course, the closing of Guantanamo, the fostering of an American green-collar workforce, an intelligent and more transparent approach to world affairs. Health care, education, social programs. All valid and heartfelt reasons to celebrate, but, one has to ask, are they filled with candy?

Of course, this is to say nothing of intangibles: the endorsement against eight long years, the racial tug, the collapse of a right-wing politics, people in the streets, this feeling of elation, of feeling something other than numb. Being able to read the paper again. But, is that what I was really focusing on in the mercado, eyeing up paper maché forest creatures, salivating, thinking of that exuberance of being blindfolded and swinging a stick?

The Pooh-bear, for instance, overhead after the Iowa primaries should have suggested a sense of excitement outside normal bounds of political fervor. Inexpensive, it fell with a few hard thwacks. I didn’t even eat all the candy. November 2nd: a large white cat dressed in a ballerina skirt, spilling M&Ms over a freshly polished floor. It seemed appropriate, destined, at the time. Perhaps it suggested something much deeper than surface feelings, a certain unfilled void, maybe from childhood, maybe back to an emptiness even larger than the last two terms. Maybe. This is normally where a voice quiets into soft introspection, where the intensity before just simmers...


But, tonight, we’ll write Bush in magic marker and swing for the hills.

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