Flying with the Deans

Flying home from D.C. to Burlington late last night, on a small plane, I sat in an aisle seat with Judy Dean on my right and Howard Dean on my left, on the other side of the aisle. I didn’t realize that it was Judy until we were departing the plane in Burlington. She is a lot more like me than any kind of Washington political wife. She was reading a book that I had wanted to like but gotten bored with and only made it half way through. I asked if she liked it and she said she was finding it kind of slow. Howard was wearing a suit. But like me, Judy was wearing jeans and a fleece, no makeup, nothing specially done to her hair. Some call it weekend attire – although that’s how I dress seven days a week. I remember criticism that she wasn’t wearing makeup for his public appearances. I totally understand that (not the criticism, but her desire to just be hersefl). I guess the older I get, and the more some people think I might need makeup, the less willing I am to wear it. All of this visibility must be really hard for her.

The stewardess, a pretty young girl from the midwest, said to Dean while she was serving the beverages, “If you ran for president in 2008, my whole family would vote for you!” He asked if she was from Vermont and she said, no, from Missouri. It was as though he thought maybe only Vermonters would vote for him? Everyone else was ignoring Dean, really just trying to give him his personal space. Also, in Vermont, everyone is like neighbors. Phish is the local band. Dean had been governor for 10 years. Despite his rise to national fame during 2003/4, he is still one of us – someone who loves Vermont and chooses to live here. The stewardess was clearly excited to have him on the plane so I thought it was very sweet of her to pay him a little homage.

It was only an hour and a half flight. We all just kind of read, looked out the windows and snoozed. I was thinking how cool it would be to tell him about the Vermont Software Developer Alliance and some of the things we are hoping to do to help the software industry in Vermont. I wondered what Robert Scoble would do if he were in my seat. I wondered if I had had my tablet and started working on it if Dean would have taken interest in it. But in reality, we were all just some really tired people flying home to the place we love the most. Napping and looking at the stars and lights below was really all any of us wanted to do.

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