So, he did it. The cool dude got four more years. He can keep his enamel President badge on his jacket pocket. His fit missus can go ahead with the new Whitehouse carpet, which I like to picture as one big Bill Cosby sweater. His kids can continue to throw jelly at the portraits of stiffs in wigs in the Abraham Lincoln playroom. The morons have receded for a while. It’s all good. Chillax.
Four More Years is the chant that accompanied the Obamas there. It was the thing cried at rallies, at conferences, by people on the street, by people on the campaign wagons, by people watching the footage all around the globe. It was the internal mantra of everyone with a brain who cared about the world: “Please, just, not the Mormon. He looks like George Hamilton and Ted Danson had a fight in a body bag and accidentally morphed. Which would be really cool if he wasn’t a total chump.” The civilised world all squeezed their eyes tight shut and prayed that America would get off the couch and go and vote; to allow their ‘great nation’ to keep moving forwards and not devolve back to the political equivalent of having no opposable thumbs. They did it. They put their Oreos down and went outside, to the polls. Democracy is safe for another fou…
HANG THE EFFING EFF ON!! Obama’s been in power for four years already? Where the Fricklin Delanor Roosevelt did that go? Why are we asking for another four years when the first four aren’t up yet, surely? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO TIME? How casually we flick it off like wooden beads on an abacus into the ether.
I took my nephew Elliot to see Madagascar 3 in the week. In 3D – I’m no skinflint, I want him to call me Cool Auntie Sadie, and I’m not morally above paying for the title. I didn’t pay for 3D glasses though because it just felt wrong. (Bite me, Odeon. Your prices are disgraceful.) Instead we wore 3D glasses that accidentally fell in my bag last time I was there. (It’s very dark in there, isn’t it?) We were about a third of the way through, and I was running a very rumbustious internal monologue about how Dreamworks’ scriptwriters should go to a Pixar seminar on How To Be Good At It, when I heard a rustling next to me. I remembered I was sitting there next to a little person that I was related to, and I saw that he was loving it. I stopped my cerebral rant and looked at the pretty colours.
I turned to secretly watch Elliot for a bit. He was holding up his head so the way-too-big 3D glasses didn’t slip down the heart-wrenching freckles on his nose. His face was lit up by the screen and his smile was as wide as the sea. He roared with laughter, his nose wrinkling and popping the glasses off the end. He reached for them without taking his eyes off the screen and clumsily prodded them back onto his face. He didn’t want to miss a nanosecond of the magic. In that semi-lit moment I saw the man he would be. He is at that age, where the face starts becoming the face it will be. Elliot is 5. In four more years, he will be 9. Four years after that he will be 13. Then 17, then 21. A man. He will hold the keys to the door. He will drink, and make love to someone, and vote. He will shape his life.
I almost did a little sick-up of Nachos flavoured love and panic. I can accept the quick passing of my own life, I almost look forward to the slipper shuffling of my seventies, the blanket-on-knee cantankerousness which I hope will be shared with someone even more cantankerous than myself. But when I thought of Elliot’s time passing that quickly, when I thought of his life being notched off in chunky increments – old phases ushered out and the new ones hurried in, quad-bundles of time being ticked off like inventoried cargo, four more years: check, tick, gone – I almost stood up in the cinema and wailed at everyone to make it stop. Press pause. Don’t let it go too quickly for him. Let the glasses stay magical and not vari-focal. Let him stay young.
Then a lion and a leopard and a hippo danced to Katy Perry’s Firework and it was all over. I was blubbing like a good un. The film finished, the lights came up. Elliot delivered his considered critique (“That was good.”) and chomped the last Butterkist. And we went home for tea, singing.