On the wall of my little sitting room, where I read and watch movies, I have a picture of Paulina. I have a lot of pictures in this room, but this is the one that draws my attention nearly every time I enter. It is when she was in 4th or 5th grade. Already her talent and intelligence and delightful personality were obvious to us all. Her maturity was years ahead of her age. In this picture, she is holding up a piece of art she had created during one of the MYO art classes. She has a devious smile and she is looking directly into the camera. It’s always been one of my favorite photos. Our friendship would continue and grow stronger as she aged. I saw her last when she was 17, only 6 months or so before she died. Of all the dangers and obstacles a young girl must face growing up in an impoverished township, it is cruelly ironic that Paulina died of a brain tumor. She was so close to beating it too. We thought she was out of the woods. I was emailing her daily in the final weeks before she died and there was no indication that she was backsliding. But then, within just a few days, she was back in hospital and then gone. Just like that.
Paulina was the real deal. Unbelievably bright in the fully expansive definition of that word. Truly someone destined for greatness. There was nothing about her that wasn’t exceptional. Her intelligence, her massive optimism and infectiously ebullient personality, her athleticism and talent for tennis, her beautiful singing voice. She was top of her class at school. When I met the principal at Namib High, he told me she was the most amazing student he’d ever encountered in his 30+ years as an educator. No one who met her would be surprised by that statement.
Anyway, there’s the picture.
Back to work today and of course sleep was difficult. It will be busy after two slim weeks. We now have a sprint of activities that all have to go well to meet our July deadline. It’s early yet, but I will get Pops up for our morning walk. Then his breakfast and up to the office.
Just finished the first section of Obama’s book. As he ends this section, he is focused on the difficult decision and analysis on whether or not to challenge Hillary Clinton for the democratic nomination. There were multiple competing forces at the time. First, there was a general feeling that Hillary was a very strong candidate and a democrat would soon be back in the White House. Next, Michelle was very concerned about the toll it would take on their family and in particular the difficulty of participating in a national campaign for president, a 1-2 year event, and the impact that would have on Sasha and Malia at such a young age. There was a strong argument that Barack should serve out his time in the Senate and wait until he had more experience. He was still very young and would easily be able to run in 2012 (if Hillary lost), or 2016 if she won. Unwritten in the book is also the strong likelihood that he would have been an excellent candidate for a Cabinet position within a Hillary presidency—which would have bolstered his credentials.
On the last page of this section, in a final go/no-go meeting with the entire team, the still reticent Michelle asks Barack ‘why does it have to be you’. He gives some canned answers, but adds to it, something like ‘if I become president of the United States, the world will start to look at America differently. Black and Hispanic kids will see themselves differently and understand their opportunities are more expansive than anyone before realized’. That did it. Michelle endorsed and off they went.
But here’s the thing. After 8 years of an Obama presidency, the country elected the most deeply racist and generally ignorant president in our lifetime. 50% of the country loves this racist asshole and very nearly elected him for a 2nd term.
Also, since Obama became president, it seems as if the pace and intensity of white cops killing unarmed blacks has increased to a point where there is at least one high profile killing a week. So where is the change that should have resulted from our electing a super smart, sensitive, compassionate, thoughtful African American president? If anything, it seems to have energized the racists among us—or at least when they elected Trump it gave them cover to bring their racism into full view.
Good book though. Doesn’t seem to be much Obama can’t do.
I am seriously thinking about re-releasing SV2SA. Perhaps even with an updated title, but certainly with a new introduction and a chapter at the end about the progression of MYO. This gives me the opportunity to correct a few copy edit mistakes and perhaps update the look and feel. But, most importantly, I also want to release an audio version and best to do that with the corrections and updates included. It will take a long time. Maybe the rest of the year since work is so busy. So tough timing with earth explore responsibilities and everything else, but it feels like something that should be done.
Slipped out for a dinner at L’albatross with a friend last week. In the picture with the amazing cheese display, what I liked was the old weathered obviously oft-consulted notebook the lady has to remember all the cheeses and their origins and characteristics.
Pops is settled. I am curious about this past life. He seems content with me, but I wonder what he misses from his previous life. I noticed sometimes when we are walking he will stare at a certain car for a while and I wonder if it reminds him of something. If he has a sadness, I am not detecting it. He is quiet and easy going and I think that is just his nature. I have never heard him bark.
I’ve already nicknamed him ‘The Captain‘. He just has that stoic, quiet, steady, demeanor one would expect from a seasoned hound navigating his journey.
New year, new dog, new president.
No other news of note.