The Caucus and The Camaro

20 02 2016

The jet took us from Miami to Chicago in just under three hours. It was a new frontier in traveling.

Yes, I packed all of my stale cliches into a couple of bags and boldly charted a course to Iowa, site of the first in the nation caucuses for the United States Presidency. I’m still trying to figure out just what the hell a caucus is?

Before Iowa, I spent a few days in Chicago, catching up with an acquaintance from the Florida panhandle. Billy is one of those online friends, who you meet in a club one night and become virtual buds. He is intelligent, handsome and 10 years my junior. I see some of myself in Billy, having been through emotional relationships and escaped what can be an intolerant Southern culture. Billy is dating a young man from Philadelphia and seems happy with life when we meet for brunch at the Golden Apple Diner on Chicago’s north side.

I ask him if he is in love and without hestitation he says yes. He is also quite passionate about a certain U.S. Senator from Vermont. Yes, Billy is a Bernie Sanders supporter. He spouts statistics about income inequality, criminal justice reform and big banks. He agrees with socialism and plays Modest Mouse records on a vintage turntable in his living room.

Knowing his political knowledge was strong I had asked Billy if he was interested in traveling to Iowa with me. He said he couldn’t get away from work, but wished me well. After crashing on his couch, I got up the next morning and motored into Iowa. The guy at the counter of the rental car company had struck up a friendly conversation with me about Pompano Beach. He upgraded my ride and I bought some insurance off him. I’d be rolling into Des Moines in a sporty red Camaro.

ChiCam

ChiCam

The Camaro was fast and fortunately the roads were not slick or covered with snow. It was late January and it was cold. I felt it in Chicago, the wind…. the chill. It had been quite some time since I had felt real wintery conditions. On my first night in Des Moines, I had dinner in the bar of the Bennigans near the interstate. There, journalists and politicos gathered to drink and discuss the day. I noticed a table full of Rand Paul supporters, four dudes, lots of testosterone and tattoos. Next to them were two European journalists who had been following around Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum. After my dinner, I approached their table and asked for their thoughts on the election.

“They are all fake,” I said trying to get the Swiss cameraman to show his cards.

“Sure,” he said, appearing somewhat surprised by my pronouncement and seeming bored with me already.

“Who do you think is the most geniune?,” I asked, in my best Cajun French accent.

“Trump,” he said.

This surprised me. The Swiss journalists said they had been at a Cruz event earlier in the day and one of the men boasted of his one-on-one access to Santorum, a former Pennsylvania Senator and stauch crusader of the religious right. Both men also mentioned their wives.

“People must come to their senses sooner or later,” I said, offering a distain for the campaign up to this point. The Swiss said nothing. I went back to my hotel across the street, but before going to sleep, I decided to check the weather forecast for the weekend.

Sunny and clear for the next day but a snowstorm was approaching out the southwest.

 

 

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2 responses

20 02 2016
David Altermatt

Great adventure into the frozen heartland. I can’t believe that Camero upgrade.

20 02 2016
R. Warren

All this and you spelled the name of the car wrong? CAMARO

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