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Stateside with Rosalea: The morning after

Stateside with Rosalea: The morning after

By Rosalea Barker

gmng, gmng, gmng, as Aunt Daisy might say if she were texting. For those who aren't Kiwiettas in the HRT time of life, Aunt Daisy was a Wellington radio personality whose daily show always began with a cheery "Good morning, good morning, good morning!"

I'm sure she'd have a useful pattern for socks for the troops that I could use as I undo the vest I've been selfishly knitting for myself. The Bush family, of course, can never undo the damage its selfishness has done to this nation's moral capital in the world.

But, I digress. Last night I faced one of the more fearsome things students here have to deal with - the Presentation. This is where you get up in front of a bunch of people and tell them about the research you're doing or the topic you're studying. I had plans to do something prestidigous with a condom and a felt tip, while singing "MiLord" a la Piaf.

But, scrub as I might, I couldn't get the lubricant off the rubber so I abandoned that idea, and then abandoned the idea of presenting anything at all cos I'd have to carry my poster half a mile in the rain. I'd heard on the radio before I left home that a protest was underway on Market Street in San Francisco, so the buses weren't running very often.

Sure enough, as I walked up the sidewalk I got swallowed by a soggy bundle of about thirty protesters as they moved from the Town Hall to another part of town. We were accompanied by a flotilla of SFPD officers on low-power motorcycles, and in their fluorescent yellow vests as they rode along in the rain-filled gutters, they looked like ducklings on a pond bobbing along in their mother's wake.

When I got to class, the teacher had turned on the TV up in the corner of the room but with the sound down. There were live pictures of the sun coming up in Baghdad with a graphic saying anti-aircraft fire had been reported. The fluorescent light about a foot above the telly was interfering with the picture, so it looked for all the world like Baghdad was being invaded by a chorus line of very tall charmed cobras, or a slinky on its side.

Just as the instructor turned off the picture at 7pm, the graphic changed to "War has started". One of the young women in our class happens to be from that region of the world and she had copied for us all some information about Norouz, the Iranian New Year, and read to us in Farsi a traditional poem for that time. The vernal equinox is New Year's Day.

At our break time half way through the presentations, the instructor turned on the TV again to see if the security level had gone up to red, but it was in an ad break. As the caption for the $1,000 cash back on a certain SUV flashed up he added wryly, "or 10 gallons of gas". Actually, on some of the bigger models they're offering $4,000 cash back, so let's hope that's a sign that Stupid Uneconomical Vehicles are becoming less popular.

At least on one front, the Bush administration was defeated yesterday. Eight Republican senators voted with all but five Democrats in favour of an amendment to prevent drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which would have been the outcome of a fiscal measure that was being voted on. I hope that's the end of the matter, but of course it won't be. No doubt there's some emergency executive power somewhere that will be invoked.

On my way back to the BART station, I experienced one of those Theatre of the Absurd moments that are all too prevalent these days. Picking my way through the strewn fried rice of a $1 dinner that had been fought over in a little encampment of street people, I heard one cowboy call another cowboy names.

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