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www.rileysride.com

Change.

If I was playing that game where you blurt out the first thing that comes to mind when you hear a word … and the word given to me was “change” … my response would go something like this:

Clothes.
Coins.
Campaign signs.

The designers of the Obama/Biden campaign might deserve a Pulitzer, it was nothing short of brilliant … and the word change, no doubt, played a role in its brilliancy. But, please note, those campaign signs that we saw everywhere, every day for 2 years, was NOT the first thing to come to mind.

Until today, the word change was only a word.

A catchy campaign slogan. A one syllable verb that, for me, represented the idea of getting the Bush administration the hell out of DC.

What a difference a day makes.

If prompted to play that same game tonight, my responses would definitely be different because I had an experience.

This morning, I experienced the C-H-A-N-G-E that was printed on millions of paper signs. I watched it come to life … in the form of head nods, smiles, and prolonged eye contact between strangers that would, on any other day, be flat out weird.

I SAW CHANGE in the faces of random people on the street, at the gym, in the coffee shop, and on the elevator. Witnessing strangers holding one another’s gaze long enough to exchange an approving gesture is something truly incredible. The times in my life that I’ve seen two people who don’t know one another, swap a stare and a nod, it ended in a fist-flying fight.

This is definitely a different day.

Everyone knew that January 20, 2009 would be a historic, exciting day … but to actually see people WANTING TO SHARE this day with one another was completely unexpected, to me.

Stangers giddy, hugging and smiling? This is extreme.

It makes me believe that people truly are ready to take the word change and put it into action in some way in their own lives. The look that I saw on the faces of so many people this morning makes me think that we might be ready to create this “better America” that we’ve heard so many candidates preach about.

This kind of change goes far beyond a new administration in the White House. This kind of change is B-I-G.

Our president, Barack Obama, did what he said he was going to do … he inspired CHANGE in America … if only for a day, in my book that’s huge. I felt this energy on November 4 of last year, but today, I SAW IT come to life with my own eyes.

If this day is any indication of what President Obama can do … deriving good spirits and a fresh tone out of a discouraged population drowning in an endangered economy … I can’t wait to see what he can do in four year’s time.

www.rileysride.com

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www.rileysride.com

I beat my alarm this morning.  Woke up mid-dream, instantly stressed … tripping out. 

My eyes were barely open and I’m thinking about the 93 emails from yesterday that I was unable to get to.  I was actually visualizing the number in bold blue font — 93 — while tiny sealed envelope icons floated around like a cheesy screensaver in my still dreamy brain. 

Heart thuds like a techno beat on crack, my mind providing the bass line: conference calls, meetings, my show today, 21 voicemail messages — they’ll start deleting at 30 — shoots, dinner dates, I forgot to fax that form, did I return that text?  I haven’t finished my Christmas cards, bills are late, wait, what time is it?  Am I late for work? 

BOOM.  BOOM.  BOOM.  UNCE.  UNCE.  UNCE.

I leap out of bed, knowing there is only one solution to stop the madness: a big fat frothy latte and the treadmill.  Gotta blow off this steam STAT or somebody’s going to get hurt. 

8 minutes later I’m in the gym.  I ask the other 2 exercisers  if they care if I turn on the TV, they say no.  I  grab the remote and tune in just in time for live coverage of president-elect Obama’s presser.  The topic is the auto bailout … but hungry reporters will, no doubt, be hitting him left and right with questions about Illinois Gov. Blagojevich.  Dodgy crook.

Obama takes center-stage on that conservative set we’re all so sick of, he stands behind the standard podium which is equally boring.  I really hate those press conference sets.  They are so commercial and stiff.  I wish someone would fix this visual … it would make them a lot easier to stomach.  The whole set-up is so unrelatable that it’s borderline condescending.

He speaks.  I almost miss the opening line from soon-to-be president Barak Obama, because I am overcome by his tired eyes.

O … you need a nap.

Necesita una siesta.  Ahora!

I snapped out of it long enough to hear the jist of the message and a chuckle at his this is a family program” comment when fielding questions about the wire-tapping transcripts in the Blagojevich scandal.  Our president-elect is such a great speaker, which is why I noticed his frequent stumbles and stutters … not to mention his sinking, fatigued face.

He’s tired.

I’m tired.

You tired? 

I look at the woman to my left.  She’s beating the sh– out of an elliptical machine with her spandex-covered gams, iPod intact,  she’s staring — well actually, she’s glaring — at the clock.  As sweat drips down her uncomfortable looking face, I’m worried she might go into cardiac arrest any second. 

On my right there’s a younger man he doesn’t look as spent … he just looks miserable.  He’s one of those people who you know is closer to 28 years old, but has the face of a worn out, middle-aged adult pushing 40.  He’s lifting free weights all half-assed.  I swear I see him roll his eyes at his own lack-luster. 

I catch a glimpse of myself in the far mirrored wall looking like a hot mess.  Bags under my eyes, pale, chipped fingernail polish, an overgrown haircut … who is that trainwreck? 

Eyes shoot back to the television where President-elect Barak Obama is introducing former Senator Tom Daschle as our new leader in the Department of Health and Human Services … as I get one last look at O’s sleepy mug, I fantasize that Daschle is going to step behind that podium and unveil a fresh plan for America.   

“All businesses are now required to close up for 2 full hours midday for a mandatory company-wide siesta.  Employees must be given the option to go home and crash, or snooze in the company naproom that will be federally funded,” I imagine him saying.  “Taking a page out the ancient Latin playbook, our country will engage in the most natural form of health care — sleep.  Every business is, from now on, required to stop practices at precisely 1pm and resume promptly at 3pm, no exceptions,” I hear in my head.

Jogging lazily, I drift back into dreamville.  I imagine a Siesta America.  I picture all of my high-strung, workaholic friends snuggling up with a blanky at 1:30 in the afternoon and it makes me smile.  I catch Young Guy Who Looks Old watching me.  His grouchy face tells me he’s probably thinking, “What the hell is that girl so happy about?  Freaky chick staring into space, smiling on the treadmill.”

I picture what my own office would be like if we went Euro and napped midday.  Dinner would be later, afternoon productivity would be stronger, morning moods would be chipper because we’d all be thinking: siesta time in only a couple hours! 

If you’ve done any traveling overseas, you know how different people are.  Is there not a layer of contentment that you just don’t see here in the U.S.?  I could write about all of the historical angles that support my America Needs a Nap theory, but I’d be typing all friggin day.  In a nutshell, we all need to slow the bleep down!

Can’t Daschle just force the prescription of a nation-wide chill pill and Obama put the stamp on siestas?  The Law of Nap, damn I like the sound of that …

www.rileysride.com

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