In Which They Should Stop At Something

22 October 2004

They called again. Twice. The second time I managed to pick up the phone. "Hello," I snapped. "Hello...?" said the person on the other end of the line. And waited.

Now look. If you're calling in the middle of the night, you had better know what you have to say and to whom, and you'd better be prepared to say it quickly. I said, "If you're looking for Mike, this is not his phone, so you'd better look elsewhere." (Which was remarkably polite and coherent considering that I was mostly asleep. Except that it probably also sounded furious and nasty.) The person verified the last four digits of the number with me and hung up. I hope it was the same person who'd been calling in the night before, but one can't always tell these things. He had left a voice message on the first call. Apparently Mike had been supposed to pick his friend up somewhere at 1:00 a.m. Quite a winner, this guy.

Timprov suggested that I should use the "last missed call" function and call these people back when I get out of bed at 6:15. It has not yet gotten to that point. But if these people don't get clueful soon, it might.

Here's what freaks me out about the upcoming election: the extent to which reasonable people disagree, not just on what the best course of action is, but on what is factually going on in the world. I can look at intelligent people, people I know can read a graph or sift through a technically worded report and come up with a reasonable idea of what information was being conveyed. And I listen to their positions and try to figure out what data they're sifting through to come up with their political positions. Because these specific, known people are not the sort to vote on whose hair or whose smile is better, or who has invoked Jesus the most soulfully. And yet I can't figure out where some of their data are coming from. At all.

This study talks about misperceptions among Bush supporters. I've seen another study that also listed misperceptions among Kerry supporters, but that was in the newspaper, and I haven't found the same study online. It was pretty darn scary how many people on both sides had misconceptions about issues they considered major. (To say nothing of issues I consider major.) I don't really know what to do about that. I don't know what sources I can cite that will convince people when I don't know what got them their convictions about those particular issues in the first place. On either side of things. On any side of things.

And do we really want a president who will "stop at nothing" under any particular circumstance, terrorists or no? The Kerry ads claim it of him. The last four years of Bush administration and speechifying certainly hint in that direction. And I don't want it, and it alarms me that people on both sides consider it a selling point. I want a president who will, for example, stop at egregious civil rights violations. I want a president who will stop at torture. I want a president who will stop at mass murder. I want a president who will stop at charging in without facts. I want a president who will stop at treating his personal inclinations as if they were those same facts. No: I want a president who will stop well before any of that. And apparently nobody wants to convince me that they would be that president. Nobody thinks that would earn my vote. They want me to be sure that they will do whatever it takes to achieve whatever goal they've set, no matter what. This is not what one would call heartening.

But cell phones and elections aside, I'm in a darn good mood today. I had a good day yesterday. I intend to have a good day today. I'm keen on the books. I'm keen on the stories. I'm wearing good clothes and good jewelry. My feet are warm. I get an apple fritter. (I don't know why the fritter is important in my brain, but it is.) I have plenty to read, plenty to do, most of it good, most of it interesting.

This is not like happy families: happy days are different. But I don't have much new to say about the revisions, the new book, sitting at the kitchen table or in the living room talking, making plans for the weekend and the week. I don't have much to say about the October/November issue of F&SF, or getting a few groceries, or making the house smell like fresh rosemary. I don't have much to say about wearing jewelry that makes me pet it and think.

Most of the things I have to say are fictional, apparently. So this is the wrong place to say them.

Back to Novel Gazing.

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