Eleven Percent

Long week, emotionally and psychologically draining. Spent it just functioning. It happens. That ridiculous Bengals loss didn’t help. That game should have been MUCH closer. It was like the 90s all over again. The time change was nice, and it helped, but I miss it being, oh, a week earlier. That wasn’t usually soon enough either, but it did make a difference. Doesn’t help that I believe we are in the wrong time zone – we should be with Chicago, not New York City. That’s one thing I really liked about Colorado. Not only were there more days of sunlight in general, but it was also at the beginning of the Mountain time zone, with a reasonable daylight span.

Should see me in March…

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Flame of freedom with the Roebling suspension bridge in the background at the NURFC in Cincinnati.

Tuesday was also election day. I voted. I hope you did too. If you didn’t, I hope you had a good reason. Having to work isn’t a good reason – in the US, nearly every state has a requirement that employers are to permit people time to vote. In some, you even get paid for that time. Then of course there’s early voting, which is helpful for those who can’t afford to lose two hours pay, and genuinely can’t get to the polls in that thirteen hour period. Yes, they exist. Buses aren’t the fastest things in the world, you know. If I worked downtown, for instance, and I took the bus, I’d have to prepare at least an hour and a half each way. I’m just about at the end of a route, as far east as you can go and still be in the city limits. There are express buses, of course, and that helps, but only if you are to be at work between 8 and 9. In my case, the nearest bus stop where I can catch an express bus is a mile walk from my house. So that’s 20 minutes right there. Takes just over half an hour, though, so that’s good, I suppose. There’s a special route for where I do work now, except that it’s going the opposite direction. Not as long a walk, and frankly, if I really had to, I could walk to work. Probably should once in a while. Kids walk it every day, after all. IMO, they shouldn’t, it’s not exactly the best place to be a pedestrian, but you do what you gotta do.

That took a third of a paragraph to derail. Not bad.

2nd panel of native Jim Borgman's strip, comparing the East/West divide to the Berlin Wall.  Not that much of a stretch.
Part of  Jim Borgman’s strip comparing the East/West divide to the Berlin Wall.
Not that much of a stretch.

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Google celebrates with a doodle showing the day when people from both sides climbed up and saw one another for the first time in almost 30 years. The guards didn’t have any direction; they didn’t know how to react. Some reacted the way they were trained, others just let people go. They had friends and family, too. I was 19 and in college, and had a 13-inch black-and-white television that I rarely watched. My how times have changed. I don’t really remember much, other than hearing the wall had fallen. I did know, though, that this was huge. My life up until that point was constantly under threat by the possibility someone would have a little too much bourbon or vodka and accidentally start WW III. It was so normal, I didn’t really give it much thought. After all, our parents before us had grown up with that, and frankly, the threat was more real then. Cuban Missile Crisis anyone?

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Piece of the Berlin Wall outside of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.

Still, I do remember, and I did know what a big deal it was. I wondered if it meant they were finally collapsing, that an ideology that requires guards who will shoot to kill to keep citizens in had hit its tipping point. China has adapted their version of Communism, making it a little more capitalist, but it’s still a bit oppressive. Some of that is cultural; a reverence for authority and ancestors seems to make it easier to control people. I was going to make a comparison to a particular religious movement here in the US, but I don’t want to derail again. When the wall fell, it seemed it was the death knell, the first hint that things weren’t all sunny in the USSR.

Then it got a bit surreal – David Hasselhoff performed on the Wall. He does see it for what it was – an opportunity to be a part of history, and not anything that actually influenced the fall – but it did really mean quite a lot to the Germans. It’s all kinds of Velveeta (extra cheesy), but sometimes the best things are.

Oh, and the eleven percent thing? I’m re-reading my Rachel Morgan series, currently on The Outlaw Demon Wails. Good book. It has vampires and witches and elves and pixies and werewolves, but that’s not the point, really – they’re people who happen to be vampires and witches and elves and pixies and werewolves, and humans. And demons, because you need a protagonist. In this particular book, one of the secondary characters is ill, and the main character is called in for support. He has an 89% chance of dying; he wants Rachel there because she believes in the 11%. Something I try to remember to do, believe in the 11%. What can I say, I default to optimist. Always have. Not delusional, optimistic. Big difference.

I think that’s it for today. Short, I know, but that’s an awful lot to think about. To summarize – should have a good reason why you didn’t vote, the time change was great if late, the Berlin Wall coming down was HUGE, sometimes it’s good to believe in the 11%, and Freddie Mercury* was awesome!


*You didn’t click on that link, did you? Uh huh, I didn’t think so. Try again.


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