June 22, 2009

Father's Day

It was Father's Day yesterday. And though I don't often give him a pat on the back, encourage him in his endeavors to paint or refinish a cane chair, I admire my father very much. Maybe it's about time we thank our dads as much as we thank our moms, for sticking through with us, as we grow up to be adults.

Yet, not everyone is this lucky. Some fathers are no longer with us, and some fathers are not able to take care of their children. Obama wrote a beautifully touching letter this year about how fathers, or the absence of them, really shape up people's live:

[...] on this Father’s Day, I think back to the day I drove Michelle and a newborn Malia home from the hospital nearly 11 years ago—crawling along, miles under the speed limit, feeling the weight of my daughter’s future resting in my hands. I think about the pledge I made to her that day: that I would give her what I never had—that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father. [...]

It is especially powerful because he never had a father, and that makes him even more resolute to be there for his children. Watch his advice to fathers on this father's day:

He's redefining father's day: it's not just a thank you for those dads that are there, but a plea for those that aren't, to step up to their roles as parents.

June 15, 2009

Remembering the Holocaust

By now you’ve heard, of course, of the crazy man who shot and killed a guard at the Holocaust museum. The shooting happened just a few blocks from my work, so there was a frenzy around the National Mall. The incident was racially motivated, and the man lived his life eaten by hatred and anger.

Today, CNN.com released this amazing 20-mins interview with Eva Schloss. Eva is an 80-year old Auschwitz survivor, and she talks about her experiences of the Holocaust and her relationship with Anne Frank.

“For me, it’s a great insult, because I was there, experienced it, I lost my family. How can people say it's not true? And I think there should be a law to forbid to deny the Holocaust. Because it's not freedom of speech, it's really libel. Because it's proven that it is there. The Germans themselves took documents and photos, and they recorded every day (we got from the Red Cross the dates that my father and brother died). It was recorded by the Nazis. And where are those 6 million Jewish people?"

I call that interview pretty good timing.

June 12, 2009

On Drones and Cops


I was going to write a post about how people in the metro are complete drones. Here they are, standing in the metro car, sporting their Ann Taylor Loft dress and flip flops, or beige slacks and leather satchel. They slowly move out of the train, and towards the escalator, queuing up nicely by the walking zone or the standing zone. They don’t smile, they don’t acknowledge other presences, and they rush towards the gates, and drop their newspapers mechanically into the recycling cans.

Every morning, I fight an irresistible need to go “Baahhh, bah!” like a goat, as I standing on the moving stairs. But I suspect that no one would even flinch.

As I was walking by my office this morning though, I saw a cop and smiled at him.

Cop: “Ma’am, can I ask for your help?”

I looked at him with raised eyebrows.

Cop: “I need to put this in your bag” as he shows me a can of diet coke.

I stutter and shift on my feet several times, thinking of the stories of unsuspecting tourists stuck in some overseas jail because they accepted to store similarly innocuous items in their suitcases. I look at his uniform several times, trying to see how official it was.

Cop: “I need to test the guards, I’ll be right behind you”.

An image of me in shackles surrounded by dozens of cops forms very clearly in my mind, so I say:

Me: “OK, sure”

I drop the can in my bag, and walk in the building. I put my bag on the x-ray belt, and flash my badge. The guards say nothing, and let me go on my merry way.

The policeman catches up with me in the elevator, and thanks me profusely. He asks me for his can back, and I say jokingly:

Me: “What, I don’t even get to drink it for my troubles?”

He unscrews the top, and shows me that the Diet Coke can is not a can at all, but a receptacle of some kind, stuffed with tissue. A young man who was riding the elevator with us blanches and quickly steps of the elevator. I try to probe a little more, but all I get is that this is connected to the Holocaust museum shooting that happened this week (about 6 blocks from where I work).

This is more excitement than this drone can take!

June 03, 2009

On Ambition

I went to dinner with some pretty ambitious folks last night and it was nice to hear of all the places in which they'd studied, traveled to, and experienced.

And though my job is not nearly as glamorous as my last one, I am relishing my newfound evenings and weekends, and reveling in going to happy hours with friends, and signing up to dance classes.

Yet, I feel vaguely dissatisfied that I'm not jet-setting to exotic places, getting a second Masters or a Ph.D. or doing a job where I save children and puppies. I felt slightly ashamed that I didn't display more ambition.

But sometimes I think: isn't it just as ambitious to build solid friendships, fall in love with a vibrant city, take some time to reflect, and balance it all with a job that still pays the bill?