Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hillary Clinton Has a Vagina, As Do I. So What?

Most of my political reflection has been confined to the work blog lately. But one thing that's been bothering me during my endless searching around the internet for Mitt Romney's latest misstep is the idea that women may feel like a traitor to their sex if they don't vote for Hillary Clinton.

Finally, I've found a story about how black women voters are sick of hearing about their internal conflict over who to vote for. CNN ran a story about black women voters who must be so torn about whether to vote along racial or gender lines. The reaction was quick, with one CNN viewer hitting it right on the head.

"Duh, I'm a black woman and here I am at the voting booth. Duh, since I'm illiterate I'll pull down the lever for someone. Hm... Well, he black so I may vote for him... oh wait she a woman I may vote for her... What Ise gon' do? Oh lordy!"

I can't speak for a racially motivated vote, but Hillary Clinton's gender doesn't really matter to me. Yes, as a woman I'm happy to see a viable female candidate. But that doesn't mean she automatically has my vote. I'm still not sure who I want to have the Democratic nomination, but I'm going to decide who to vote for based on their stand on the issues, not by the candidate's genitalia or skin color.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Winter Whining

I have long said that winter should be over after Christmas. No more snow, no more cold, an immediate start to the budding of leaves and the sun setting after 8 p.m. But since it doesn't work that way, I've got a bad case of the winter doldrums. I get up. I go to work. I go to the gym. I go home. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I'd love to go on vacation, but I've got no money. I know George Bush is allegedly going to send me a few hundred bucks, but I should pay off my soul-crushing credit card debt with it instead of flying to some tropical island for a weekend. Or buy a new laptop, since mine is struggling to process my keystrokes fast enough as I write. And I want to buy an XBox so I can buy Rock Band. I played it at a party last night and have determined I must have it. So if Congress could be so kind as to add another 0 on my rebate check, I'd be grateful.

All this has put me into hunker-down mode, trying to save my money. I don't go out much. I try to eat cheap at home. I'm plotting selling my eggs for some quick financial relief. Since I don't think I'm ever going to use them, somebody should be able to utilize my superior genetic material.

At least there's football today, and American Idol is back. I may be single and broke, but Tom Brady and Ryan Seacrest are going to help me through these trying times.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bedlam at Market Basket

I had no choice. After an afternoon of hunting for a window fan (my old one died and it's so hot in my apartment I sleep with the fan on me-- please direct all criticism to my landlord) and picking up A's new cat, I had to make one last errand: to pick up some food at Market Basket.

On an average Sunday, the Market Basket is insane. Even walking through the parking lot is taxing. Clerks run and try to complete the Sisyphean task of collecting carts as overflowing cars jockey for one of the few vacant spots. Huge families pile out of their rusty SUVs and grab a couple carts and slowly file into the store.

When there's a snowstorm on the way, however, it's a complete madhouse. Carts abandoned so shoppers can grab an item down a jammed aisle. Children stopping abruptly. Old women banged into without apology. During last month's nor'easter, I made the mistake of picking up too many items to use the express lane. After spending half an hour in line as two people in front of me loaded their completely full carts onto the belt, I knew better than to make that mistake again. I may not have everything I need for the week, but I had a delicious taco dinner tonight and have some veggies and whole wheat pasta for tomorrow.

Come and get me, Mother Nature. You can't frighten me more than the people at the Market Basket.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Late-Night Train Travel

Last Friday, my friends and I went out to see Juno. (Cute movie—highly recommended.) Our show got out around 9, so we proceeded to hit the Intermission Tavern for some post-movie drinks. A's boyfriend got out of work around 10:30, but didn't end up at the bar until 11. After ordering some fries and another round, we realized the last train to Oak Grove would be coming by soon. We hastily paid our tab and went around the corner to the Chinatown stop.

It was around midnight when we got to the station, but we saw that the gate was still open. We walked downstairs and found no T employees around. After paying our fare, we saw some other people waiting around for a train.

We stood around in the cold train tunnel. A couple of T cops walked onto the platform, then walked away. A train went by on the opposite track. By the time 1:15 rolled around, we decided if a train didn't come in five minutes, we'd grab a cab.

Just then, a T official came into the station and told us we'd missed the last train. Naturally, we freaked out.

"We've been waiting here for nearly an hour!" my friend M spat at him.

"There's no sign upstairs that says what time the last train arrives," A pointed out.

"And some T cops were just here and didn't say anything," I said as we were herded up escalator to the street.

The T official was patient with us. He explained to us that the T doesn't have the money to staff both the Chinatown and Downtown Crossing stops that late, so he has to shutter the Downtown Crossing stop then drive to Chinatown and close that one up too.

I brought up the T cops who'd come by. "They don't care," the official said bitterly.

He did give us one piece of advice. When the last train gets to Downtown Crossing, it stands by for a little while. So if you think you've missed the last train out, head toward the more northern stops and you might still have a shot. I'm still not pleased that the T doesn't staff one of its sketchiest stops late at night, but I did learn that a cab to Wellington doesn't cost too much from downtown either.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Of Fingers and Neighbors

Oh noes!

So the apartment I live in was damaged by a fire. Thankfully, it was before I moved in (this time). The owners of the building fixed the place up nicely, and in my tiny studio alone there are several fire detecting apparatus. When the fire alarm goes off in one apartment, it goes off in all the apartments in the large building.

I know this very well, because for the second time in a month my neighbor set off the fire detector in the wee hours of the morning by cooking bacon. While I certainly understand a love of fried cured meats in a morning meal, come on, dude. At least today he set it off at 7:15, nearly a full hour later than the time he set it off last month while I was in the shower, mid-hair-sudsing.

Bacon is equally delicious when cooked on paper towels in the microwave, and much less smoky. If you must pan-fry your meats, open a window and keep the smoke to a minimum. Please.

My Globe delivery guy kind of sucks. I think. I can't tell if some hoodlum is filching my paper off my stoop or if he's not stopping at my apartment, but at least once a week I go downstairs to find nary a newspaper in sight. It's infuriating because instead of having an idea of what's going on as I get to work, I have to grab a copy when I get to the office and slog through it once I'm here.

Today was a newspaperless day, so I put in my headphones and spaced out on my commute. As I rode the Green Line, I noticed a guy who was holding the pole had a gnarly fingernail. After I turned away, something occurred to me.

That guy's gnarly fingernail was on a second thumb.

Not wanting to stare but desperate to confirm what I saw, I turned my head back toward the man. Indeed, there was an additional thumb on his hand. It was a short thumb, kind of only like another of the top joint, and looked a lot like a tree branch. The man got off at the next stop, leaving me with the single most strange sighting I've ever had on the MBTA.