palin trajectory

A new poll reveals what I’ve suspected for a while: we don’t want to hear from Sarah Palin.*

Fifty-four percent of Americans have heard the chimes at midnight, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll, if that is what that expression means, which, the more I look at it, the less sure of it I feel. Now, with the methadone of Tina Fey, we’ve gotten off Palin and moved on to new hobbies and better pastimes. And not a moment too soon!

I was going to write a whole piece about how sick we were of Sarah Palin, but I didn’t want to any more. It felt like a chore. “Sarah Palin” used to fly off my fingers on the keyboard. “Ah,” I would think, “now I can just sit back and let the clicks roll in!”

Now, nothing.

I’m so sick of her I don’t even want to write about how sick of her I am. She hasn’t been gone long enough to be missed, either. She is at that exact sweet spot of the songs of just-too-recently ago, where hearing them just bothers you instead of filling you with nostalgia. “Oh no,” you think. “I was sick of this the last time I heard it, and, yup, the feeling has not faded.”

What’s a proper analogy?

I know she still is out there, somewhere, emitting her siren noise. (Not “siren call.” That’s different.)

I think she might have said something about wanting to impeach the president? I barely clicked on it.

Palin is that person we used to be fast friends with, whom now we only hear from when she posts on Facebook. The things she posted used to be somewhat innocuous — pictures of family. Pictures of big flags. Pictures of family holding big flags. Now, they worry us a little.

We want to ask if she’s okay, but we were never really that close. Besides, what if no one else has come forward and we end up stuck with her living on our couch for months and bringing weird friends to crouch on our coffee table? That would be no good.

But this is not how it always was. I used to have to resist the desire to write about her. It would come and bite me on the ankle, periodically, when I was just sitting somewhere trying to think of other things. My hand would twitch to my Blackberry (I had a Blackberry, in those days) and I would dash off a line or two about Caribou Barbie. I would announce that I had given up the stuff and then, a few weeks later, I would come crawling back, a buzzing in my head, overcome with guilt.

But it doesn’t even come for me any more. We aren’t passively indifferent. We’re actively indifferent.

How to describe it?

For a while, I had a Frappuccino problem. I would drink them for lunch. I would drink them for dinner. I would fill them with shots of espresso and drink them late into the night.

And then one morning I woke up and the craving was just gone. Cold turkeys could learn a thing or two from me.

That is Sarah Palin. It’s just over.

Sarah Palin is that Evanescence CD you listened to over and over again.

Sarah Palin is your old Livejournal.

Sarah Palin is Tinkerbell, if no one clapped for her for months.

She is the Hello Kitty socks you wanted to wear every day when you were 11.

She is those sneakers that lit up when you stamped your foot that you thought were the coolest and most important thing in the world and tried to go to bed still wearing.

She is the N*SYNC poster from your middle school locker.

Sarah Palin is “phat” and “boo” and “rad.”

She is your date to the 10th-grade winter formal.

Sarah Palin is milky pens and your AOL Screen Name and Beanie Babies.

Sarah Palin is “Avatar.” (I’m still mortified about “Avatar.”)

Sarah Palin is a Blackberry. She is a Crumbs Bakery.

Sarah Palin is “Twilight.”

You can remember how it made you feel. But look at it now, and all you can do is cringe.

How obsessed you were. How important it all seemed.

But time passed. It  lost its savor. You grew up.

 

* In fact, according to the poll, she is not the only person we no longer want to hear from. Jesse Jackson, Dick Cheney, Al Gore, Newt Gingrich and even Bill Clinton make the list. We don’t want to hear from anyone anymore, really. The past is too mortifying. We want to be let alone.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.