Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui

Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui
Fish Sauce is realistic fiction, and Anhthao’s second anthology collection.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meg Whitman at Christopher Ranch

By Anhthao Bui with editing by Dan Lambert

The Christopher Ranch was located on California Highway 25 toward Hollister. There was no sign about the Christopher Ranch. When I changed to Highway 25, I almost got lost, but the Jerry Brown activists saved my life. They waved their hands and raised their posters, which read “Vote for Jerry Brown.” I made a right turn, gave them a glad smile, and said "thank you" to them.

I drove to the Christopher Ranch area and drove around: there was no sign about Meg Whitman’s event. In front of a building, some people gathered at the two booths; Madam Whitman was standing, shaking hands and talking to another group of people. After I parked my car, I went to the booth to sign in. A young lady asked me my full name and wrote it on the roster and directed me to come inside the building. I heard that Madam Whitman spent a lot of money for her campaign and advertisements. Thus, I expected that the campaign should give the audience some free gifts with her name on it. Also, the audience should have free soft drinks, and participants should be able to give their contact information, so the staff members could contact them. At least her campaign staff members did not try to bother the voters. The simplicity of Madam Whitman's event tamed my heart.

I came inside the building; my eyes were stuck on the yellow chrysanthemums which were my favorite flower; the chrysanthemum was the soul of Gilroy and Salinas that reminded me of John Steinbeck’s "Chrysanthemum." The yellow chrysanthemums brought me back to my childhood villa in Vietnam. Garlic, green pepper, and other crops were surrounding the stage. I hardily sniffed the garlic aroma into my lungs. The Christopher Ranch’s big truck with a picture of Gilroy farm land was along the left wall; next to the big truck was a tractor; big posters which read “Meg’s Plan for Jobs” and “Meg 2010: Creating Jobs for a New California” were in front of the stage.

Farmers are the working class who play an important role in our daily lives, but their living conditions are often below the standard. Farmers and peasants need a lot of help and our government’s attention. I wished Madam Whitman would be a true friend to farmers. I read the poster again: “Meg 2010: Creating Jobs for a New
California,” and thought, Oh no, Californians were proud of the long history of seeking wealth; I did not want any politician to change our California into something new at all. The Bear Flag was on the right side of the stage. Oops: the setting's environment was missing something else. I looked up, I looked down, I looked around, but I could not find the United States flag. I was upset; I liked to attend political events in order to wave the flag, to sing, and to hear patriotic songs, but I did not have the chance to enjoy myself.

Mr. Christopher and Madam Whitman appeared on the stage; we stood up to welcome them. Mr. Christopher quickly introduced Madam Whitman as the guest speaker of the event. He then gave the microphone to Madam Whitman. Madam Whitman briefly told the audience about her biography: E-Bay was her most noteworthy accomplishment, but she did not talk about it much. She clearly shared with us the factors that urged her to run for governor and her plans for California with three main points: first to provide jobs and create tax cuts; second to recruit new industries and to retain existing employers; and last but not least to solve California’s water crisis.

She said, “I have plans; without a plan, things never happen.” I thought, “Yep, we often teach and encourage our students to make an outline before writing an essay; the outline is like a plan; without an outline, one can hardly write a good essay. Your outline for your plan is neat and clear, Madam Whitman.” I clapped my hands and yelled loudly. She smiled at me. Her radiant smile bloomed on her mellow face. Her voice was warm and clear: not too fast or too slow. She did not yell or raise her voice at the main points to drive the audience’s attention. Madam Whitman acted well in the role of a mature female leader. To Vietnamese people, a woman with a full face reveals her benevolent and sophisticated virtue.

Gilroy, California: July 22nd, 2010