November 6, 2008

That was the night that was

I watched the returns come in on election night with campaign volunteers, first at Paula's house, with my canvassing partner Cathy. Paula was nervous and depressed, after I'd told her earlier in the day about Rachel Maddow's pessimism. She was tired, having canvassed the neighborhoods every day for weeks. By nightfall there was something about the finality of the polls closing in Florida that suddenly lifted my spirits. I had the strongest feeling, that I couldn't explain, that Obama had bagged the elephant. Exhausted, we had collectively skipped a final assignment to "keep voters in line" at one of the precincts, but speculated, punch-drunk, from our couches in front of the TV about how that was expected to be accomplished. Money and candy were discussed. I suggested tasers.

After Pennsylvania went blue, I left Paula and Cathy, in considerably better spirits, and headed for a local sports bar to meet up with my friend Stu. We go way back. Stu and I had goaded each other into volunteering, but it was really Stu who got the ball rolling. Cathy was worried that the scene at the bar might turn into a brawl. But it turned out that the local democratic club had booked the second floor, so it was an Obamalama party. I joined Stu and his wife and son at a booth which, like all the other booths, had its own flat-screen TV. Stu and Nancy were drinking tequila, I ordered a beer.

It was wildly fun to flame the republicans, loudly and in public, and root for Barack as each new flip, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, splashed across the big screens and people cheered and hugged. The sense of moment was palpable, and seemed to concentrate and heighten everything. Then suddenly the dominoes were falling all over the map, including those big blue ones right up the west coast. The rest, as they say, was history.

Today I went for a "long long ride on my motorbike." I was ready.

A sweet park on a small basin where blue crab and yellow-fin can be netted and hooked. There's a charcoal grill, as in most parks. I've had lunch here with visiting family. Or I'll drop in with a coffee and a New Yorker, or nothing at all, and just watch the water for a while.