The recent transformation at Daily Kos from non-stop cheerleading for Obama into bitterly critical diaries at the top of their popularity list reminds me of my last term as a destitute graduate student in 1999, when I couldn’t even afford to ride a bus, and used to walk home from the library late at night through a series of black, Latino, and Native American slums.
After midnight I was more or less alone on the street except for a few gang-bangers who usually recognized me as that guy who taught basic reading skills at the local juvenile prison, out of books by Malcolm X and César Chávez and Russell Means’ autobiography, Where White Men Fear to Tread.
About halfway home I would pass a halfway house for mentally challenged individuals, many of them only recently emancipated from unpleasant institutions or exhausted families. There were almost always three or four residents socializing on their front porch until two or three o’clock in the morning, and after a few nights of getting-to-know-you banter back and forth we quickly became friends.
Promptly at 1 AM all of us would rush inside for the late-night weather report on TV, and we played a crazy game with the weatherman.
“Current temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, 22 Celsius, clear skies and a gentle breeze from the southwest,” and we had been outside in exactly that weather only moments before. But someone would immediately scream…
“Sleet and freezing rain!”
“Tornado warnings for the Greater Boston Metro!”
“Hail-stones bigger than Toyotas!”
“Earthquake in the Back Bay!”