02:20 PM #
SUCCESS! SUCCESS! ...OK, qualified success. But a fantastic start.
02:22 PM #
Got there early, a strategically placed seat. THE SUIT made me feel like a giant of respectability.
02:24 PM #
Transportation Commission (henceforth TranCom) held the floor alone except for a toady setting up his Powerpoint bore-fest.
02:25 PM #
And one of those telescoping pointer-things. He held onto it like a battle axe. BUT:
02:26 PM #
TranCom, I must concede, was affable. Even charming. After his formal presentation -- mildly skillful propaganda -- came the Q & A.
02:28 PM #
TranCom handled the first few Qs with great aplomb, giving As that essentially dodged Qs but which to the unalert seemed to address matters.
02:30 PM #
He always ended with a cornball joke or allegedly charming anecdote, involving children, dogs, folksy old people, some combination thereof.
02:33 PM #
He was so effective for a mere bureaucrat that I suddenly feared I'd bitten off more than I could chew.
02:35 PM #
Dear God, I thought... if i'm already out of my league, if I can't even handle the stooges at this level, how can I aspire beyond this?
02:37 PM #
I need MUCH more training, I thought.
02:38 PM #
Time flashed ahead of me: another seven years of studying rhetoric, law, philosophy, argument, grammar, joke books.
02:39 PM #
Another seven years bussing tables for Mrs. Yin, then dragging myself home at night for voice exercises and experiments in muscle control.
02:43 PM #
My confidence wavered, and I could feel myself sweating like a sumo wrestler. The danger of pit stains in THE SUIT was not lost on me.
02:46 PM #
BUT THEN from Nowhere a great force took hold of me, made my arm shoot up involuntarily. TranCom called on me and I had the Q ready to go.
02:49 PM #
"Mr. Commissioner, this new stretch of highway isn't being built through YOUR home, is it sir?"
02:51 PM #
...Everyone knew it wasn't. Heads turned, interest spiked. GOOD. Everyone knew I just baiting the trap, including Le TranCom himself.
02:51 PM #
But he managed a toasty warm smile as he A-ed: "Why no, it isn't."
02:53 PM #
Grew more confident in spite of myself, decided to push my luck: "And it won't go through the homes of any of your family or friends, sir?"
02:55 PM #
He got a tad chillier. "Why no, not to my knowledge." OOOOOHHH. I knew I'd drawn blood. "Not to my knowledge!" Heh heh heh!!!
02:56 PM #
...A Nixon White House answer, characterizing the speaker, fairly or not, as someone who is about to spend the weekend shredding documents.
03:02 PM #
I went on: "And you are aware, sir, are you not, sir, that many people will be losing their homes for this noble enterprise, sir?"
03:02 PM #
(Yep. I said "sir" way too much.)
03:04 PM #
Sir TranCom replied: "Why yes, I'm quite aware." [SIDEBAR: why do weasel-types use word "why" as handle for answers? Why "Why?" MUST TRACK.]
03:06 PM #
"Why yes, I'm quite aware." He chucked pathetically. "Gosh, can we have a question from someone else now?" "NOT 'TIL I'M DONE WITH YOU!!"
03:07 PM #
...I *thought.* But what I said was: "And sir -- SIR? [yeah, I know] -- are you aware that some of these people to be displaced and I would
03:08 PM #
ever say discarded are quite old and have worked many long years their entire lives to pay off these houses and are getting dubious value
03:09 PM #
back and that their HOMES yes HOMES SIR are being bulldozed for a highway benefitting automotive commuters SIR who are oh what a
03:11 PM #
coincidence this this who are much more affluent that they are SIR?" TranCom: "Please, that's enough now..." Me: "So SIR are we to take your
03:12 PM #
non-A to my Q as an admission that you believe deep in your heart that this Darwinian philosophy of throwing the weak into the meat grinder
03:14 PM #
to make sausage for the rich and fat and shiny [I said shiny, gawd] -- that is the CORRECT philosophy SIR?
03:14 PM #
03:15 PM #
...Men started hustling towards me with purpose in their eyes. Absolutely predictable. I threw my arms up in mock frustration:
03:16 PM #
"Just so we know where you stand, sir."
03:21 PM #
And I strolled up the aisle, taking my time, growing enormous in the silence of the crowd. The energy of the event had been CHANGED.
03:22 PM #
...No amount of cute anecdotes about ol' Grandpa Pete and his ol' lucky fishing rod (or whatever) would undo that.
03:28 PM #
When I got home, I could tell Tina wanted to know how it went. :)
03:30 PM #
I told her all about it and we celebrated by splitting the pint of spicy prawns Mrs. Yin gave me last night for my "volunteer" shift.
03:32 PM #
Had to rinse each prawn individually to get the spicy off for Tina, though -- her tummy can't handle that. :)
03:33 PM #
I know the vet said I should only feed her kibble, but she's such a good puppy. She deserves a little party every now and then. :)
03:34 PM #
03:42 PM #
07:46 PM #
I will sleep like a very talkative baby tonight.