Tuesday, November 24, 2054

Chapter Thirty-Three

I knew I was in trouble as soon as we got into the car. Nicki was busy on her phone dealing with some scheduling conflict in tomorrow's schedule. Jesse and Darrell had discovered their shared membership in Star Wars Geekdom and were arguing some arcane points to bolster their personal opinions about which were the most annoying characters in the series. Addie's arms were folded over her chest and she was staring silently out the window. She didn't say a word all the way back to LaGuardia.

When we got on the plane, Addie claimed the seat next to mine and asked Darrell to make sure that no-one sat in any of the seats immediately around us. The flight attendant tried to enforce the assigned seating rules but thought better of it after the withering look she got from Addie. As soon as we were in the air, Addie turned to me.

"You've gotta stop doing that," she said. I was about to respond, but she just continued. "I don't expect you to necessarily change what you're going to say, but I really need to be warned up front. Where the hell do you get off telling half the people in the country you don't give a shit what they think?"

"Well, I don't give a shit if they're not voters. Why should I?"

"Just because they don't vote doesn't mean they don't talk. Loudly. And people listen to them. You don't get elected by announcing that you only care about half of the country." With that, she seemed to have expended most of her actual frustration.

"I didn't say I only care about half the country. I said I didn't care what they had to say about how things run if they don't do anything besides yammer all the time. There's a difference."

Addie responded, "O.K., there's a difference, but what you say and what people choose to hear won't always be the same thing. You just gave our opponents a perfect set of sound bites. Those words are going to come back and bite us in the ass big time. I need to know, in advance, when you're gonna pull this shit."

I gave her the closest thing she was going to get to an apology. "I'll try to behave better, but believe me, I didn't know what I was going to say until about ten minutes before I went on. I'm sure if this is as big a deal as you think, I'll get asked about it and have a chance to clarify what I said. I was really just trying to change the subject and get people talking about something other than my arrest record."

"Well, that's a fine goal, Paul," she said. "Maybe next time we change the subject, we could try to get them talking about something that actually does you some good."

I've always been a blurter. Things come into my head and the next thing you know, they're tumbling out of my mouth. As much as I intended to try controlling this part of my personality, I predicted an uphill battle for Addie.

1 comment:

Jeri said...

This is going really well - I'm enjoying watching Paul come to life!