Friday, February 01, 2008

At the Other Coffee Shop

The three of us walk in and there's a couple sitting at the corner table. They're reading the paper.

We order a lemon poppyseed muffin and an untoasted sesame bagel with cream cheese and a mocha latte with 2% milk. The German-American woman behind the counter treats four-year-old Cole like he's a king--King Cole. He loves it.

Then others come, white-haired guys who hold or have run for public office. They all sit at a table together, talking--first of football and then of politics.

"I'm voting for McCain. He's the only person capable of running this country."

"Obama. He's Irish, right? If they're drunk enough in Boston, they won't know he's not. O'bama," he says again and laughs.

"I'm not voting for Romney. I know that."

I smile and laugh a little. Eyes turn to me. "I'm a recovering Mormon," I say. "And I wouldn't encourage anyone to vote for Mitt."

They laugh. And we banter back and forth. The couple in the corner throws in its two cents when asked, "Do they vote in Rockport?" "They usually vote Republican," the man says, wrinkling his nose.

There is more laughing. There is more talking about candidates. It is a scene. Aged white guys. The Gloucester political establishment (recently semi-dethroned by a woman) thinking they know how to run it all. Finally one asks, "So who are you thinking about?"

"I'm undecided," I say. Which I am. Still. But it's becoming clearer. I've been making the argument that it's Hillary that's the Establishment, that I'm tired of the Clinton dynasty, that the Clintons are sneaky as can be.

And I continue to think that they're sneaky and that they've made big mistakes and that they're ridiculously well-connected and well-heeled. I also wish that Bill would shut up lately and let Hillary do her job. But as I sit drinking coffee and eating muffins with my young son and my young daughter, I realize that Hillary is my candidate. I know it as soon as the words leave my mouth.

"I'm thinking about Hillary," I say. The solidly male table gets quiet, the hostile silence telling me everything that I need to know.

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