I tend (or tended, before a career, wifehood, and motherhood entered the picture) to be one of those people who attracts...stuff. Experiences. Confidences. Drama. Sometimes they are physical experiences, such as bearing sad witness to the death - and a helmeted foot race to the nearby ambulance company - of one of my classmates when getting certified to ride motorcycles (a brief stint with an R6 followed, but once you've seen death by motorcycle, it loses it's appeal, or at least for me it did).
Sometimes it's an emotional experience, such as some of the confidences that seem to come my way.
Sometimes it's both - like the time I paid a waitress at John Harvard's Brew House in Harvard Square $20 to dump a glass of water on me to get out of a blind date. Seriously - apparently it's still a bit of brewhouse lore. Trust me, when a blind date tries to order for you (having never met you before) and brings you a screenplay "I thought you might want to read for me", escape via soggy pants via the exit nearest the bathroom starts to sound pretty good. Guy sent me an e-card the next day with singing flowers on it too, which only confirmed that it was money well spent. I can only hope that the general male population understands that "You look like a gin-and-tonic kind of girl" is not an effective pickup line. Plus I hate gin.
But last week I had one of the most surreal experiences I think I've ever had. 2 days after Christmas, phone rings. Robocall. Normally I hang up on them, but I had my hands full of a dinner recipe, so I listened. Political survey. 3 questions. Seeking to understand who I thought was handling the debt crisis better. Or worse. No question, of course, on whether I believed there was a true debt crisis (and I suppose there is, or will be, although I think it pales in comparison to say, the hunger crisis, or the jobs crisis, or the stupidity crisis that seems to not be contained just to Capital Hill), just what I thought of the Democrat and Republican Parties and the President's handling of it. On a scale of 1-5, with 1 presumably being something somewhat akin to 'abysmal' and 5...fixing the problem?
Needless to say I'm not totally bought into the idea that austerity in the worst economy since the Great Depression is the way to get the economy going gangbusters. And since the voting options did not include that the Republicans have been hijacked by a bunch of nutbags, the bulk of the Democrats pay lip service to their base and then head off to fund raise on Wall Street and leverage insider information, and the president seems to be the Neville Chamberlain of our time, I punched in my 'they are all the detritus of society, with the Democrats and the President only marginally less stinky than the loonies who would allow Rick Perry near the nuclear football" votes and hung up after duly noting my responses were received.
It wasn't the polling that was so shocking. It was that I was offered a 2-day cruise to the Bahamas for taking a 10-second robocall poll.
Now, I'll confess that I occasionally toss money to a campaign I believe in - although I will never forgive myself for the $50 I threw at John Edwards. But we're talking like $15 or $25 here, not $1000 a plate fundraising. In other words, I'm a good bet if you have a candidate I like - which doesn't happen all that often, but if you were planning to fund your campaign on my money or my connections, you probably shouldn't run for anything more than local trash collector of the year. And even that would be a brief race involving lots of potluck casseroles.
Now, I didn't take it, but you knew that. See, first - I have no idea who was funding that poll. I'm suspicious of Political Action Committees and their agendas. And the fact that they didn't fess up to who was funding it says it's highly likely it's a PAC.
And quite frankly, 2 nights in the Bahamas is FAR less than I'm worth, even for answering a loaded poll that left no room for commentary - intelligent or otherwise - in less than a minute.
Add this to the list of things that make it clear our political system is demented, like the fact that people get paid to put comments on political news articles supporting one point of view or another - I'm not sure the paycheck even requires reading the actual article most of the time, since the comments are often unrelated at best.
But seriously, I'm not going to let the Adorable One grow up in a world where Mommy's political opinions are for sale for an onboard all-you-can-eat buffet. And when the money offers start coming to someone who tosses the occasional 10-spot at a candidate, you know things are completely out of whack. I'm not connected in any meaningful fashion - I have no political juice.
I'm torn between amusement at the relative idiocy of it, and utter disgust, which is about how I feel just about every time that John Boehner or Harry Reid speak. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised after all.
But if you were on the fence about whether our political system has bought a 1-way ticket to the loony bin, let your mind rest easy now, because when someone's trying to buy me, their next stop is Larry the Cable Guy.
Enjoy the Bahamas, Larry.