Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mr. Obama, Please Save the World Market!

It's back to work today. I suppose I should write about the inauguration since that's definitely the topic on the radio and everywhere else. I know places that have closed for the day out of respect. Not us. Maybe we'll watch it on the internet at work since we no longer have a TV. It's hard to say. Yet, by the time I go home tonight, we'll officially have a new president.

The last inauguration I watched was that of Bill Clinton. I was still in high school then. Maya Angelou was reading an inaugural poem and our English teacher wanted us to see and hear history being made. She was a great English teacher, probably one of the reasons I'm a writer now. I'd like to tell stories of how she believed in me, how she made me believe I could become a published writer.

She didn't. Mostly she was just good at giving feedback and giving me lower grades on papers than I expected which, I suppose, made me work harder. I craved her praise because it meant something. When it came, it would make me happy. When I got a lower grade than my best friend, I would be miserable, wondering what I'd done wrong. I was much more competititive then and I wanted to be the best. I don't think I ever was. My other friend was also a writer and went on to major in it in college. Of the three of us, I'm the only one who ended up wanting to be a full time writer. Maybe there's something to being the average one in high school; who knows?

What I do know is that I remember that teacher more than any other. I remember everything about that Inauguration Day. My best friend and I were in the 'pub' room where we'd be pasting together the latest issue of our high school newspaper. Back then, we used to use a waxer to do layouts, sticky tool-lines to break up content, cropped clip-art to make it more graphic. We didn't yet have the technology to make a shiny, professional looking paper; instead, we thought it was great if the tool lines were straight.

That was the nice thing about being in journalism; we got to spend our lunch hour being silly in the pub room instead of having to sit in the bleachers at the gym, waiting for the bell to ring. When it came time for the Inauguration, our teacher gathered us around a TV set that had been purloined to a classroom. We got to hear Maya Angelou's "A Rock, A River, A Tree" poem live, to see Bill Clinton at his freshest, before the years in office wore him down and aged him.

It's funny. Today is one of the most historic inaugurations ever. Naturally, I think that it's a great thing that we now have a black president but I'm also sad because it's such a big deal; it's one of those things that should be unremarkable, the best man or woman should win the job regardless of their skin colour, race, sexual orientation or sex. Yet I suppose it's still a step forward to the day when none of that does matter and for that reason alone, it is historic.

I'm hoping Mr. Obama does a good job in office. I'm hoping that he lives up to the hopes and dreams that so many have pinned on him. I'm hoping he magically restores our economy so that I don't have to hear horrible things like the local Cost Plus World Markets are closing. I love the World Market. I love that you can buy British goods, German chocolate, wine glasses and Strongbow Cider all in one place at a very decent price. I love the way they give free coffee and tea samples. I love that they have an old-fashioned toy section where the toys don't beep or flash but rely on a child's imagination to make them come alive.

But I digress. I don't think Barack Obama can save the World Market though that would be very awesome. I do think he can start to lift us out of this scary economy where so many have lost their jobs and the threat of more victims looms. It will take time but today is a good start to hope. Sometimes it takes a fresh view to get things going again. Here's hoping President Obama can do that.

Happy inauguration day.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

You have never been and never will be average, my dear, dear friend. You are brilliant in both your observations about life and written telling of them. I have complete faith that you will be a published writer some day! And I will do whatever I can to help you get there. Love you!