Sturm und drang. So throw me a donut.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Distracted by the Olympics...and sleep

San Antonio is hotter, hillier, and greener than I imagined it would be. It will take me a loooong time to get used to the ground radiating massive amounts of heat all night instead of cooling down at sunset and - dare I say - get chilly. There will be "chilly" for maybe six weeks over the "winter." I promise to keep my mouth shut and not make disparaging comments about "winter" down here. After slogging through 8-10 inches of snow to AND from school for weeks at a time last winter in Ellensburg, let's just say that I have a different definition of the season. I kept two sweaters, only because I love them and I couldn't send them to Goodwill. Plus, I still have my wool coat and my shearling coat. What can I say? I have a coat fetish. Every once in a while, I'll have to stand under the a/c vent and wear my coats for a few minutes just to let them know I still love them. It's nothing personal, coats, but it will never be cold enough to wear either one of you outside...unless I win the lottery and take both of you on a ski trip to Colorado.

I've been watching the Olympics and the one thing that really strikes me is the spirit of the games versus real life. The Olympics celebrate the mastery of skills that, while pretty darn cool, are not exactly practical in real life. But that's not the point. The point is the single-minded pursuit of perfection and the strength to compete against other people. Receiving medals, standing on the podium and listening to a nation's anthem is the reward for being the best at that point in time. And it's healthy competition. The athletes look like they are having fun, they congratulate each other, and it seems like everyone is a winner just for being at the games. Right now, I'm watching Ledecky - who is 15 years old -  swim for a gold medal and an American record in the 800 meter freestyle. How cool is that?!

I wish we could all revel in this spirit of competition and support, the pursuit of perfection for the sake of perfection, and an appreciation for just doing something because it's hard and fulfilling. Real life, that life we all live despite having hopes and dreams that may not have anything to do with our regular jobs and day-to-day worries and fears, is such a bummer sometimes. It's all about money, why Mitt Romney won't release additional tax returns, Chick-fil-A and that slippery thing called free speech and opinion, and this national mania to cut taxes, cut services, cut spending and cut people off from anything that pisses off someone else. Imagine if Chick-fil-A stood for truth, honesty and doing the right thing by the employees and customers. That would mean saying "I have an opinion, it's different from your opinion, but let's just agree to disagree and move on." Or am I wrong? Is there a middle ground? Mitt is definitely hiding things. He refused to release tax returns when he ran for governor of Massachusetts...and still won. He's playing this like if he has to fess up and show more tax returns, his privacy will be destroyed and HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR PRIVACY INVADED LIKE THIS? Or at least that's how some people are spinning it.

I'd like to see the presidential candidates compete in physical competitions instead of the endless political ads and infuriating debates. If the candidates - and I mean all the candidates that run, not just the two main parties - had to train for a 5K, a 100-meter freestyle dip in the pool, skeet shooting, and a floor exercise showcasing strength and flexibility there would be a lot less hot air and a lot more perfection of physical strength and mental stamina. And maybe this kind of humbling, difficult training and competition would translate into a president with the mental flexibility and stamina to get things done. And I'd like to see the senate and house engage in a massive cage fight; just to clear the air. The vice president could officiate the match. Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to ruuuuummmmmmbbbbble?! It seems like there's enough hate and angst to put on a really good show. After all, members of congress are perfectly willing to let regular Americans fight to the death over minimum wage jobs with no benefits, and all the while telling us that we're lucky to have jobs that pay anything at all.

On commercial breaks, we keep flipping the channel to watch a bit more of Mississippi Burning. Here's the story of people fighting for the right to be treated like everyone else.

Gabby Douglas is the first woman of color to win a gold medal in the individual all-around gymnastics.

And people here in town are lined up out the doors of Chick-fil-A to show support for a cause I'm not sure they really understand.

Which one of these things is not like the other?

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