Saturday, September 08, 2007

Potential problems with the problem of potential:
My own frame-able napkin (West Wing ref):

Today is our St. Louis baby shower. We had one already in Wisconsin when we went up for my parent’s 50th anniversary. Today’s party will be for local friends and family. I must say, I’m looking forward to it. Jes’ mom, my sister Sandy, and our friend Beth have done a wonderful job getting this event organized for us. I was talking to Beth last night and she said, “I know how much you like to play host, but for this one you just need to relax and enjoy.” That sounds like a very good plan.

Thus far, we’ve done fairly well in getting ready for baby. I think the Lamaze classes helped motivate us in that they asked the simple question, “What if your baby comes early?” and, now that Jes isn’t working, we’ve had a little more task time. We’re five weeks out and we have had the newborn car seat professionally installed and safety checked; we have the crib up in the nursery, with a cat tent over it to prevent pet access; we have a bassinette bedside our bed; we have a rocking chair and battery powered baby rocker in the nursery; we have shelves up with stuffed animals and children’s books on them; we have all the clothing and blankets that we’ve gotten thus far washed in Dreft baby detergent; we have two strollers, one for now from Jes’s Father and Sue, and an all terrain one for when he gets older (which I actually bought for Sandy from Mark and Daryl when Abigail was born); and we have eighty newborn diapers ready to go with a spot cut out for the healing umbilical cord. For five weeks out, I think we’re doing well.

I had a fun time last night at a slightly random event. After getting up at five, and teaching a full day, I served beer and wine at a Third Degree fundraiser for my Democratic Senator, Russ Carnahan. The event was catered by Boogaloo, so the Cajun buffet was fabulous, and the band was Gumbohead – much noted in my personal CD collection for their fine Soulard Zydeco. It was a good event, with 1,000 dollar a plate VIP tables. It’s quite a lot of fun for me to bartend for the swells; it dusts off the skills and reminds me of several of my former incarnations in bar and restaurant management (Beth and I met as employees and eventually managers of a Days Inn – her accounting/me “Services” – desk, bar, food, room, hot tub, pool, whatever). If I had to characterize the crowd I would say that it was a blend of union leaders, current and former office holders, financiers, and everyone’s family members.

Carnahan has formally endorsed Obama, so Jim G. spent the better half of his afternoon wiring his cell phone into the Third Degree sound system, to broadcast a call. Unfortunately, the Carnahan’s flight was delayed, and we had a monsoon of a rainstorm, such that the band, and many of the guests, had gone by the time Carnahan finally did arrive. Thus, there was no call for the call. Carnahan was quite personable, and shook the hands of many of the staff, thanking us for our hard work.

I’ve been asked twice in my life to do campaign work. The first time, Adam asked me to run his campaign for local office in the ville. I declined the position based on my own inexperience. There was a potential Walgreens that he wanted to block – it was a question of zoning that motivated his hat throwing into that particular ring. He didn’t win, and unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your view, the Walgreens is now there. All politics is local, and that store is just up the street from his house.

Ben has thought about running for office and asked me to help in some capacity – perhaps as a speech writer. I am more interested in politics now. Had Ben not decided to wait until his children are a little older, I would have helped in whatever capacity I was able to. A key problem for me is that I am just smart enough to know how smart I’m not, and that “knowledge” has kept me from doing a number of things that I might have been good at, had I given them a try. Still, I’ve done other things that I am good at, and teaching is the best way that I’ve discovered to continue to learn. When I was out of teaching for those few years, while in administration at the H.A.C., I stagnated.

My own family and teaching career need to come first right now, but eventually I can see myself playing some roll in the political process. I teach rhetoric via the Socratic dialogues; I understand that it’s not just my right to participate in the governance of civil society, it’s my responsibility. However, I also know that politics and my kind of idealism can be a recipe for many, many hardships of the less-you-know-about-making-sausage-the-better variety. If I ever do move in that direction, it will be warily, like Bugs Bunny getting slowly into the boiling water of his own potential stewing. Isn’t that the problem with potential, it’s always stewing. I guess it is stewing right up until it is finally ready to get born: burden, birth, or both.


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