This week I am housesitting for my parents, reveling in their quiet, lovely, well-stocked home that floats above the fog in the Santa Cruz mountains.

During a fit of insomnia last night (motivated mostly by the lightly-padded wooden decking that they call a mattress around here), I picked up the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I did so because my Diana Gabaldon book was getting a bit too steamy to effectively lull me to sleep, but I soon became immersed this new book as well. That’s the problem with being a book junkie — there really is no such thing as a boring book. Or if there is, you can bet my mom doesn’t have it on her shelf of newly purchased hardbacks.

To summarize, Blink is about the following (taken from the author’s own website):

When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, “Blink” is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good.

Eventually I succeeded in putting the book down and fell asleep, but Gladwell’s message about the importance of gut instincts and first impressions followed me back into the daylight hours.

I used my longer commute today to catch up with the New Hampshire primary coverage on NPR. I have remained largely undecided in the presidential race, mainly because I don’t feel well enough educated about any one candidate or their beliefs to really back any of them. I have had strong leanings, but they are all based on absolutely nothing, and it makes me very uncomfortable to vote for our next President based solely on a gut feeling.

Until, that is, I heard a brief clip of Obama’s concession speech from last night. I have heard all the pundits remarking on how well-spoken he is, but I have tried my best not to be swayed by his honeyed phrases. They’re only as good as the people who scripted them, after all. But something about this particular speech gave me chills all up and down my back as I was driving. I can’t even name what it was, exactly, it was just… something more. Perhaps something great.

Now, I concede the point that he is very young and inexperienced. He is certainly no John McCain. I also admit that Obama has very little foreign policy experience during a time when foreign policy is often quite literally a matter of life or death. Oh yeah, and I happen to disagree with his vaguely condemning stance on gay marriage, and I’m not crazy about a few of the other finer points of his policy platform, either.

But try as I might, I just can’t help it: Obama made me blink. Whatever it was about those few seconds of his concession speech that I heard this morning, it got to me. I may yet succumb to a more reasoned judgment on Super Tuesday, but I doubt it. In the end, I am always a sucker for a well-turned phrase, an empassioned plea, the erudite candidate. And although there may be a million well-reasoned arguments against doing so, I will undoubtedly follow my gut instinct.

Let’s just hope, as Gladwell says, that this instant conclusion will be one of the “really good” ones.

UPDATED: A friend wrote to say:

Try this out….think you’ll enjoy it…gave me some much appreciated perspective on who I’m the most compatible with – like the old teen mag love match quizzes….but with scarier consequences.
http://www.selectsmart.com/president/2008.html

I’ve taken a quiz like that before, and ended up with first Edwards and then Clinton! Apparently my gut holds entirely different political beliefs than my head…

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