"My husband woke up this morning singing 'O Canada,' " said the well-to-do woman sitting on my left in the theater last week. "What a terrible night," she added ruefully.
This caught me short. What was she talking about? Had I missed some late-breaking news about the death of Prime Minister Jean Chretien? Had terrorists attacked Toronto?
Then I realized. She meant the previous day's midterm elections in the United States.
Apparently the specter of jackbooted Republicans banging home their belligerent agenda in Congress untrammeled by sensible dissent had turned her husband into an expatriate overnight. To survive the coming coup d'etat, he would have to emigrate. Or joke about it, as would his wife, who would be dining out on that gibe for months.
I know this woman. She is a solidly upper-middle-class, stay-at-home mother of two whose husband has a cushy job in the arts. They own a large, well- appointed Victorian home on a pricey chunk of real estate in the quaint suburbs. They are living the American dream, but their politics haven't caught up yet.