Journal, November 5, 1976 AM

Día del primer grito de independencia de {day of the first shout of independence of} El Salvador.

I ran again today, 4 laps on the big cafetalón {coffee field} track. I weighed in at 176 lbs. at Peace Corps Office yesterday, but I don’t feel fat. I feel tough, or at least semi-tough.

I got my stuff packed in a big bamboo basket to send to Costa Rica yesterday. I’ll send it tomorrow morning. I also got my bike wrapped up in foam rubber. I feel just about ready as far as my possessions are concerned. Jaleh {Peace Corps staff} promised me my airplane ticket for Monday. Then I can change money over and such.

Carter will get somewhere between 272 and 303 electoral votes when the “college” convenes in December. In any case, it was an incredibly tight election. He won by only about 34,000 votes in Wisconsin, and even less in Ohio. Actually, Ohio is doing a recount; he may lose it, but will win without it. The entire West went to Ford (except Oregon where the final count is not in), and the whole South to Carter. It was a regionalist election. As an older woman from California (who is a Peace Corps Volunteer) said, “Westerners distrust someone who wears his religion on his sleeve.” At least it’s an interesting observation, if not a partial explanation for the phenomenon.

I saw this same woman’s nephew, Robert DeNiro in a movie last night. Steve Pamperin and I went to see “Taxi Driver.” It was “well done” as everyone had told us, and their adjective “strange” was also apt. The story of a man who just could not take the meaninglessness of his own life and the vile baseness of his world. He tried to lash out at the most visible of the powerful (whom he also saw as at least a symbolic sexual rival), a politician. Failing that, he spent his wrath on the corrupters of a young prostitute. He, even in his insanity, was very moral. He was haunted by the $20 the girl’s pimp had given him to look the other way, finally returning it to the “hotel manager.” His wrath spent & himself proclaimed a hero, by accident of fate, he returns to his taxi, now seemingly content to be just an invisible taxi driver.

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