How Refreshing!

This was my non-work Monday, so I only had to go in for one meeting. It was done about 45 minutes earlier than expected, which was great. It meant I had time to watch President Obama’s prime-time press conference at 5:00 pm, which was, like, live from Washington.

So I settled down in my chair, turned on MSNBC. The President came out and gave some prepared remarks. They weren’t new. What was new were the references to the county in Indiana he had visited today, in his first town-hall meeting. Then he said he would take questions. I reached for my book, prepared to read and half-listen at the same time.

About 30 seconds into his first answer, I put down my book.

I put down my book because I had to actually listen to his answers. They were long. They were detailed. They were comprehensive. In some cases, I didn’t think he actually answered the quesion
he was asked, but he made specific points that related to thd question.

Let me explain. On the rare ocassions when I listened to our previous President’s press conferences, I could read. I could do dishes. I could channel-surf. I didn’t have to pay attention, I only had to scan for the inadvertently funny thing he was going to say–and if I missed that, no matter, because Jon Stewart would have it the next night anyway. It was a bit shocking to have to actually listen to the President, work out what he was saying, and decide if I agreed or not.

It was like reading Quicksilver, by Neil Stephenson. I bought the book because it was by the guy who wrote Snow Crash. I thought it would be fun–you know, irreverent, well-written action adventure. It was all that–and a lecture on economics and history. I had to pay attention. I had to actually bring my best game to that book. It was invigorating!

That’s just how I felt this afternoon. listening to our President

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