Thursday, January 8, 2009

Irreverence in the Democratic sanctuary

Yesterday, I mostly held my tongue. Today, though, I needed to report to a friend who couldn't be there, and humor was the order of the day. This is an adaptation of an email I sent her:

The swearing in was a lot like government - at some moments interesting and filled with excitement and joy, but surrounded by lots of waiting. Fortunately, there were lots of people around to talk to, which made the otherwise dull moments fun, too. I spent a lot of time with the gang, as well as with my new State Rep's mom. One of the core group brought her son, and he gave us a tour of the State House - amazing the history soaked into those walls. I took a couple of photos of him for his mom, since I could get away with it while she might elicit one of those teenage son looks.

Then came the crush for the actual ceremony. The sergeant-at-arms staff wouldn't let my Rep's husband in with their children, so I gave up my ticket. Of course, I wanted to see her raise her right hand, but I knew her kids had to. But then everyone got into the gallery in the end, so both happened. When I looked down, I could see the younger two leaning on their mom, with the oldest a little off to the side - he's getting that preteen reticence, I guess. Lots of families were there, including Sal DiMasi's teenage children, among them a son who reluctantly stood when the Speaker made him. There was even one babe in arms on the floor of the House.

My Rep didn't doom herself to immediate exile and voted for DiMasi. C'est la vie. In her shoes, I would have, too. At least James Marzilli and Dianne Wilkerson were gone, gone, gone.

Oh, DiMasi's speech! He went on for forty minutes. Someday, politicians are going to figure out that we don't live in the time of Handel's Messiah anymore. I'm a political junkie, and I don't have the attention span, especially not when my stomach's growling. Brad Jones, the Minorty Leader and 9 to 7 winner over Present, restrained himself to about twenty minutes, and his speech was a little more interesting as it vacillated between bipartisan comity and helpless impotent warnings. The Clerk doesn't speak in public very often, but at least he kept his remarks to a couple of minutes, bless him! At that point, the last of us bolted out of the gallery to join everyone else in the lunch line. Eating of course leads directly to hobnobbing, and there was a lot of that to do.

When I got back to my car at 3:30, a tire was flat, and I couldn't find the locking lug nut tool. I didn't even know I had locking lug nuts. It took two calls to VW dealers before Boston VW was able to tell me that the tool was easy to miss. They gave me enough hints that I found it. Then I had to pore over the arcane Germanic VW procedure - change a tire, how hard could it be?! Bolt caps and a puller, an alignment tool that didn't work, a weird cantilevered jack, and oddly translated English. Elapsed time: about an hour. To the good: no known stains on my suit...

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