Thursday, January 22, 2009

Deus Ex Machina (or not)

If you're an English Major (or read a certain Isaac Asimov story repeatedly at an impressionable age), you've familiar with the term deus ex machina. It means, more or less, automatic miracle: the cowboys are huddled in the back of a shack riddled with bullet holes, with the crooked sheriff and his bloodthirsty mob of a posse about to set fire to the building - when a flying saucer darts out of the sky unexpectedly, stunning the bad guys with its ray gun and beaming the good guys to safety. Completely unexpected, more than a bit implausible, and having the effect of fixing problems in a way which is not particularly sensitive to the flow of the story.

So anyway, our hero (that would be me) is faced with a challenge: she is about to lose her job, is inevitably concerned about the change in circumstances and income, and is presented with a series of challenges and options. She worries. She considers. She does some math. She frets. She makes some inquiries. Suddenly, she gets a call from a local law firm! Two attorneys have contacted them, singing her praises and insisting that she must be hired! They want to meet her, and when they do, the interview goes great! Her worries are unfounded and she's going to walk into a new position without a hiccup, and possibly even a raise! And then . . . the letter comes to say they've hired someone "more suited to their immediate needs." It seems that nobody is going to swoop unexpectedly out of the heavens and rescue me dramatically from my current situation; instead, I'm going to have to deal with it myself.
I did what most people would do in my situation - I ate some chocolate. And then I took my camera for a walk.

Meanwhile, I very much enjoyed the "We Are One" concert on Sunday, even if I did think the structure of the Tom Hanks piece was a bit odd. Bettye La Vette and Jon Bon Jovi's duet of the old Sam Cooke tune, A Change Is Gonna Come, was fabulous. And I was extremely moved by the inauguration ceremony itself - which probably means that I am excessively empathetic, since (as a white girl from the burbs who has never worried about being limited by her racial background) it's not like I had a huge private stake in the election of an African-American president. But I will always and forever be moved to tears by the sight of large crowds waving flags and singing patriotic music, or by the grandeur of our political process (when uncorrupted).

I like Obama. I hope he does well. He's got a long, hard row to hoe, but he has the support of a strong partner in Michelle, and a wave of positive emotion from the general public the likes of which I've never seen before. And he seems to be making some good first steps.

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