Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kissing Politicians

by Judy Merrill Larsen

I know we're still a few months away from Election Day--by which time I'll be able to repeat all the commercials by heart and will also know that when the caller ID says "Unknown Number; Unknown Caller" it's not really Al Gore/Sheryl Crow/Paul Newman (unfortunately!) asking me to vote for their candidate, it'll be some recorded message yapping at me.

But yesterday was the primary here and there's nothing like a primary to make politics really local. Anybody and their Aunt Martha can, and often do, run. And they'll show up on my front porch to say howdy and ask if I'd like a yard sign. This happens every election. But this time around, I came face to face with a candidate I'd kissed. Not one of those politician air kisses with hundreds of other folks around. No. This had been a date kiss.

And I was stumped. I knew who he was. (I mean his name was on the pamphlets. Duh.) But, I doubted he knew or remembered who I was. Should I remind him? But what about his wife standing there on my front porch with him? (Our kiss was 15 years ago. Way before either of our spouses were on the scene.) It was tricky. Plus, I was probably going to support his opponent in the primary (a man, I'd like to point out, I have never kissed). I hesitated.

We chatted, I shook his hand, and he turned to leave.

It's funny, I mean you don't really think about the things you do or the people you meet when you're 18 or 24 or, in my case back then, 34, you don't think about those people popping up in your life years down the road. And it wasn't anything slimy; I'd simply bought a date with him . . . .

Okay, perhaps that requires some explanation. It was for a good cause. It was one of those bachelor auctions which was a fundraiser for some important cause. I don't remember which one, but it was legitimate. (As a quick aside, can you imagine the outrage if they had a "bachelorette auction"?).

Anyway, I'd been divorced for a year and a woman I taught with invited me to join her and her friends for A Good Cause. I grabbed one of my friends and we went. I had no intention of bidding. But I'd never been to any sort of live auction before. It's fun. And I got a bit caught up in the action. Perhaps there'd been some wine involved. Anyway, when this particular bachelor came up, I recognized him as one of the nice guys I'd chatted with during the cocktail portion of the evening. And, well, before I knew what was happening my arm shot up and I hollered out an amount (much to the surprise of my table mates) and two bids later he was "Sold! To the woman in blue at table 9." We went out a time or two. It was fun, but we had little in common.

And then, 15 years later he's on my front porch, looking paunchy and with a receding hairline (I would not have recognized him if I hadn't known his name), asking me to consider voting for him in the primary. I smiled, took the literature and went back inside.

I know they say "All politics is local" but this is a tad too local for my comfort.

* * * * *

Results just in: As I write this, the race is still too close to call. I'll keep you posted.


Brittany said...

Wow, that is eerily random, and I love howyou put it, a tad too local!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Hi Brittany. i guess you just never know who'll show up at your door, huh?

Thanks for stopping by!

Daisy said...

Ah, yes, all politics are local. Then there's the other saying: It's a small world, so you'd better behave!