The President-Elect As Frustrated Flaneur

At the end of his 60 Minutes interview last night, Barack Obama acknowledge that one of his biggest transitions as President-Elect is the loss of the simplest of pleasures: taking a walk around the neighborhood. What he says is heartfelt, and spoken like a true flaneur. No wonder I voted for him!

An excerpt from the transcript:

Kroft: How has your life changed in the last ten days?

Michelle Obama: You know, it’s calmed down a bit. I mean, we’re– we’re back into more of a routine.

Mr. Obama: There’s still some things we’re not adjusted to.

Michelle Obama: Like what?

Mr. Obama: Like–

Michelle Obama: What do you want?

Mr. Obama: Me not being able to take a walk.

Michelle Obama: Oh, well, you know.

Mr. Obama: No, I mean, though those are things that…

Michelle Obama: I don’t walk as much as he does though. So I guess I don’t miss it.

Mr. Obama: Yeah. I mean, you know.

Michelle Obama: You want to go for a walk?

Mr. Obama: I do. I’d love to take you for a walk. Although it’s cold today. But…

Michelle Obama: Yeah, I wouldn’t go with you.

Mr. Obama: I know. Well, that’s something that I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. I mean, the loss of anonymity and this is not a complaint, this is part of what you sign up for. Being able to just wander around the neighborhood. I can’t go to my old barber shop now. I’ve gotta have my barber come to some undisclosed location to cut my hair. You know, the small routines of life that keep you connected I think – some of those are being lost. One of the challenges I think that we’re going to be wrestling with is how to stay pretty normal. Because they and we said this before the campaign, and I believe this. actually think that we are as close to what normal folks go through, and what their lives are like, as just about anybody who’s been elected president recently hanging onto that is something that’s important. Michelle helps on that ’cause she’s just a sensible person.

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