Right now I’m somewhere between the University of Wisconsin and the State Capitol. I just took a stroll down the street that seems to be the main artery of the University…tons of kids out, tons of inexpensive bars and restaurants. Fun town. Reminds me a little of Boulder. I think it’s an ultra-lefty place as well. I like college kids. I look at them all and smile. The nerdy ones, the clusters of friends. I don’t wish I was still in college, but I reflect back on that period and laugh because I was them. I was naive, stupid, whatever. Life was so free back then.
Currently I’m sitting in a Japanese restaurant, which is good. For the last two nights I’ve eaten cheese curds and sausage – no vegetables. And believe me, I’m paying for it now (quick break to throw a handful of edamame into my mouth). I’ve also drank more beer in the last week than I have in the last two months. Prior to that I had really been laying off, and I felt better. Now I feel worse. But it’s been such a strange work and travel schedule. It’s hard to keep things normalized.
But it’s the first time I don’t feel stressed since arriving here on Tuesday. I love these times when I have a moment or two to get inside myself and I’m not worrying about everything. I worry a lot. More than ever. About what? I don’t know. I just feel out of my skin. I’m worried about work sometimes. But I’m also worried about wasting time. Always. And I don’t even know what specific things I am talking about. Don’t try and make sense out of that. It’s illogical.
This campaign is chock-full of people who are just like I was a decade or 15 years ago. I see these people who are younger than me, smarter than me. I know they want to be me – the person who gets sent in to solve problems because they’re smart and can make that happen. I used to be them. Now they want to be me. Weird. What’s particularly strange is that I think they are all better than me. Actually, I know they are. I wish I had more ambition in my younger years. Hell, I wish I had more ambition now. I’m best when I get my back pushed against the wall or when I’m on the line for succeeding or failing. I wish I could just be at my best all of the time.
Earlier I drove to Milwaukee to meet with the financial advisor of one of the country’s richest people. She’s rumored to be losing faith in some of the organizations in the state and the way people are running their campaigns and elections. My job was to tap into that and figure out what we can do to change things – whether that means changing her opinion or changing the things that are causing her to lose faith. I think it went really well. We agreed on a strategy of doing an infrastructure review after these elections. Good enough. I’m a problem solver today. That’s my job. And actually, the oddest part of never feeling satisfied is that this is what I wanted to be doing when I first started out in politics. I liked the notion of flying into places, fixing things and leaving. It plays into my strengths and doesn’t require me to focus too long on one thing – something I’ve never been good at.
In the last 10 days I have been in Colorado, Alabama, Florida, Atlanta, Washington DC, North Carolina and Wisconsin. I haven’t slept in my own bed in a month. I’ll fly to Denver tomorrow, go to Ohio on Saturday, head to DC on Tuesday, then back to Wisconsin. After that I go back to DC and then to South Carolina. It’s truly an unbelievable month (or two). It’s been almost a month since I’ve seen Rhonda. The kids have been unbelievably resilient. That’s part because they are well adjusted little girls but also hugely a part of how great my mom is as a grandmother. Rhonda and I seem to do well with distance when she doesn’t have the kids. We are completely different people. And I don’t mean that in any bad way…just that we talk to each other more like we did when we were dating when neither of us is managing the girls on our own. One of the mystics of marriage I guess.
Hey it’s Cinco de Mayo. One of my favorites. Yee ha.