Sunday, March 09, 2008

Back Where Winter is Cold

Early yesterday morning we flew into Chicago, where the temperature was 14 degrees and a drizzle of snow fell from the sky. The mostly Mexican passengers gasped when the pilot announced the temperature, which is negative in Celsius.

Our taxi driver was an African, from Ghana I’d guess. But he’d become a U.S. citizen and was an impressive political analyst.

“History is not on Obama’s side,” he said. He spoke of how the states where Obama is doing well are states that will go to the Republicans in the general election, how it’s not the number of delegates that count but the ability of a candidate to win a general election, how the swing states of Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Arkansas are the ones critical to winning an election and it is Clinton who is doing well in those states.

“If you are going to hire someone to do something in your house, a nice appearance and sales pitch isn’t enough,” he said. “You want to know their record, see what they’ve done before. I like Obama, but he’s not experienced and we don’t want a President learning on the job.” He proposed that Obama be Clinton’s VP candidate, allowing him the opportunity to train.

“Clinton is a known quantity,” he said. “I know what I’m getting.”

River and I are now in central Illinois, visiting with family. It’s great for him to see his relatives. I’m enjoying it as well. But every time I come here I’m surprised again how difficult it is to find healthy food – ie. things without a lot of chemicals or preservatives, food that uses whole grains, etc.

There isn’t a coffee shop near where we’re staying, but there is a McDonalds with wifi. So I went there. I couldn’t remember the last time I was at a McDonalds. They have added some more nutritious items to the menu – fruit and walnuts, yogurt, milk – but most of the staff carried some extra fat and I watched customers down breakfasts laden with fat and carbohydrates. The nearby grocery store is cheap, but the quality very poor. Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few overweight people in the area.

It feels strange to be home (in the country, in the region I’m from) but not actually be home. Mark has returned home, but River and I will stay with family for another week and a half. It feels as though life is somewhat on hold during the month we’ve been traveling, that we’ve fallen out of the routines that make up our normal existence. However, since we unexpectedly lost our nanny during our vacation, there really is no hurry to go back.

No comments: