In touch with the average American

That seems to be a virtue everyone can agree on this campaign season. So let's define what that means.
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That seems to be a virtue everyone can agree on this campaign season. So let's define what that means.

The paramount issue in the presidential race is who is more in touch with problems of the average American.

Is McCain in touch when he doesn't know how many houses he owns and thinks rich begins $5 million a year? Is Obama in touch when he has four fireplaces, vacations in Hawaii, and attended elite schools?

To be in touch with the problems of the average American, one would spend one's day as follows:

6:30 a.m. — Reach for aspirin. Hit snooze button on alarm.

6:40 a.m. — Hit snooze button again. Vow to cut back on late-night drinking.

7:03 a.m. — Discover there is no toilet paper in the bathroom. Curse entire family.

7:21 a.m. — Search for misplaced car keys. Search for reason to blame spouse for misplaced keys.

7:40 a.m. — Stuck in traffic. Change lanes.

7:42 a.m. — Wonder why traffic immediately slows after switching lanes. Conclude that all drivers are involved in a vast conspiracy.

7:55 a.m. — Wait in line to pay $2.95 for coffee.

8:25 a.m. — Wait 15 minutes for morning meeting to begin because boss is busy with his divorce lawyer.

8:47 a.m. — Boss explains that top management's latest great idea is something called "Total Customer Experience (TCE)."

8:50 a.m. — Learn that "TCE" is designed to "delight the customer at all touch points."

8:51 a.m. — Wonder how we in accounting will "delight the customer," but decide not to ask.

9:30 a.m. — Head to the john. Read the newspaper. Lead story is, "Violence in Transcaucasus." Kazakhs, Nalkars, Turkmen, Dungans, Azerbaijanis, Dagestanis, Armenians, Kabardians, Ingush, Ossetians, Karachays, Kalmyks, and Kyrgyz are killing each other.

10:15 a.m. — Auto mechanic calls. Says he must replace the Rilke value and the reuptake inhibitor. Warns that auto will self-destruct in 30 seconds unless repairs totaling $1,250 are authorized.

10:45 a.m. — Go back to the john and finish the newspaper. Read that incurable virus has jumped from gold fish to humans.

1 p.m. — Eat low-carb, low calorie, low-transfat lunch at desk.

1:25 p.m. — Alleviate hunger with two chocolate chip cookies.

2:30 Check stock market. Panic.

2:32 p.m. — Berate self for not selling everything seven months ago, since it was obvious that things were going to hell.

3:24 p.m. — Blood sugar dips after cookies metabolized. Fight to stay awake during TCE training session.

3:27 p.m. — Wake up to hear consultant effervesce over the TCE's paradigms, metrics, and value propositions.

3:48 p.m. — Receive text message from son in college. Wants money for bail.

4:10 p.m. — Receivables are too high. Customers taking too long to pay. Boss is furious. "Tell those assholes to pay up or else," he screams. Do not understand how this particular touch point will delight customers, but keep this to self.

5:10 p.m. — Fill up gas tank before heading home. Realize I can afford either school tuitions or gas, but not both.

5:20 p.m. — Car, displaying vanity license plate "BE NICE," cuts me off on highway.

5:40 p.m. — Arrive home. Ask teenage daughter what she did today. Receive reply, "Nothing."

5:41 p.m. — Gas appearing preferable to school tuitions.

6:05 p.m. — Open domestic mail:

  • A claim denial from heath insurer.
  • Four credit card offers.
  • One credit card bill with erroneous charges. Schedule three hours on Saturday to resolve erroneous charges.
  • Threatening letter from plaintiff's lawyer. Since all companies involved are now bankrupt, he alleges I exposed his clients to asbestos by breaking too hard in a 1962 Ford.

6:30 p.m. — Check e-mail. Internet service down.

6:31 p.m. — Call Comcast. Placed on hold.

6:49 p.m. — Comcast says it is Dell's problem. Call Dell. Placed on hold.

7:06 p.m. — Dell says it is Microsoft's problem. Call Microsoft. Placed on hold.

7:29 p.m. — Microsoft CSR speaks only Hindi and Urdu. Give up.

7:40 p.m. — Unable to cook in kitchen because for the fifth straight month, contactor failed to finish remodel as promised. Order pizza for dinner.

8:05 p.m. — Eat dinner. Spill red wine on carpet.

8:39 p.m. — Reinjure rotator cuff attempting to clean carpet.

9:10 p.m. — Realize that tomorrow will be a better time than tonight start cutting back on drinking.

Anyone who experiences days like this is in touch with the problems of the average American.

Unfortunately, he or she would not know how to deal with the subprime meltdown, climate change, energy independence, budget deficits, health care policy, trade deficits, crumbling infrastructure, China, Pakistan, Russia, and the Middle East.

But isn't it more important that we get a president who understands our frustrations with voice mail, plumbers, and this fall's lineup of reality shows?


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