Clueless in Tampa

Back in the late Spring of 2003, I was located in Tampa for two-and-a-half months for business. While there, I had a great deal of time to catch up on reading and, for what ever reason, decided to spend it on political science books. While picking up a couple of books at the local Barnes & Noble one evening, I was being checked out by a woman who looked to be in her mid forties and who appeared to be perfectly sane, at first:

"Hey, those seem like two great books! We don’t get too many people buying these down here. I’ve never heard of this one, but I like the title: The Emerging Democratic Majority."

"Yeah, I read a piece by one of the authors, in The Nation, I think, and I thought this book seemed interesting. It’s mostly wonky, statistical stuff, though."

"Well, we need something to turn this country around. That other book (The Conscience of a Liberal: Reclaiming the Compassionate Agenda) by Senator Wellstone is supposed to be great. We’ll sure miss him."

"Yeah, he was a great man."

"I just can’t stand this current Bush administration. I didn’t really like Clinton because he couldn’t keep it in his pants, but he’s a male and your all that way, so I just have to be understanding. But these people are just despicable."

silence

"My husband and I worked on the Nader campaign in 2000. We really helped to get a lot of people interested here in Tampa."

"You live in Florida and you worked to get people to vote for Ralph Nader?"

"Yes, I think he’s somebody who really could help America."

I promptly dove across the counter and strangled a person who, along with her husband, might have forever ruined my beloved country. Okay, that part’s not true at all. However, you can imagine the personal restraint on my part to resist such a compulsion.

"Hey, ______ (can’t remember names, don’t want to), are you going to talk that guy to death or check him out. He’s just standing there with a blank look waiting for you to hush and ring him up." says the lady at the next register, unwittingly noting my defense mechanism.

"Oh, of course. Sorry about that. It’s just nice to see someone who thinks the way I do."

"Uh-huh." (!?)

She proceeds to ring me up for my two books and I walk out, thinking how I finally met one of those wacky moonbats that Rush Limbaugh is always going on-and-on about and just astounded at the fact that she was sure she’d found some kindred spirit in me. I kept looking over my shoulder for the Kick Me sign that was surely taped on there.