News from Shakes Manor

On the Road with Chris Martin and Barack Obama Edition

Yesterday was one of those spectacular autumn days I just live for—blue skies, crisp air, changing leaves in brilliant colors, the ideal temperature for a wool sweater and jeans. Iain and I went out for a drive on one of our favorite country roads, past the local apple orchard, under a canopy done in a fall palette and pierced with sunlight from a high sun.

I rolled down my window and let the cool wind tousle my hair. Iain put Viva la Vida on the stereo.

Liss: Remember your first fall here? You always requested this route when I drove you to work, because you loved how beautiful this road is in the autumn.

Iain: That's right. I couldn't drive yet that fall.

Liss: Yeah, I used to drive you, and every morning you'd be amazed all over again about how lovely this drive is.

Iain: That's right. I canny believe that was six years ago.


Part of this excursion was to go Obama sign-spotting, because there are hardly any Obama signs around here—although very likely not because of a lack of support. (There are tons of signs supporting the reelection of our Democratic rep in this blue corner of a formerly very red state.) Every election year, because I am a huge nerd, I like to look for evidence of Democratic support in the week or so before the election, and it makes me unreasonably happy when I find it.

Seeing the gigantic 5'x7' sign reading "HOPE," with the telltale Obama "O," made me nearly jump out of my seat.

Liss: Did you see it?!

Iain: Yes, I saw it.

He tried to sound like he wasn't all excited, but I saw the huge grin playing at the corners of his mouth.

Both of us are scared shitless that Obama will let all of us down; and both of us also have an irrepressible suspicion that he could be great—and a fervent desire that he will be. It's nothing like the staid confidence we had in John Kerry, who would have been perfectly functional and competent. It's a jittery combination of pessimism—rooted in a general cynicism of all politicians and the reasons Obama has given us himself to be apprehensive—and optimism, rooted in an embarrassingly simple-minded wish for goodness and greatness in our leaders and the reasons Obama has given us himself to be enthusiastic.

Liss: It was HUGE!

Iain: He's tootally gooing tae win.

We gave each other a terrorist fist bump of HPE. The sun, as it has a wont to do on autumn days like yesterday, gleamed brighter for just a moment. "Strawberry Swing" came on. It's such a perfect day…

Liss: If we were in a movie, two characters driving down this road, on this day, feeling just like we do, happy and content and excited about the possibilities held by the future, this is the exact song that would play on the soundtrack.

Iain: Tootally.

Liss: Especially if Zach Braff were the director.

Iain: [laughs] I was just gon tae say that!

Liss: I'd prefer Hal Ashby, but he's been dead 20 years.

We don't ask Maude for much, but we'd sure like it if Obama won next week—and that his presidency gave lots of people the chance to have perfect days of their own. Happy, safe, and hopeful. America needs more of all three, especially after the last eight years.

Failing that, I request Hal Ashby. And a song by Cat Stevens.

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