Wednesday, November 05, 2008
9am-- Drop the kids off at preschool. The teachers in Irina's class tell me how they did a mock Presidential election yesterday. My daughter and her best pal ran on a platform of "more snacks". The winning ticket ran for more visits from community members like firemen (my wife maintains the teachers must have heavily influenced that win). Even though she lost, I'm proud of my little girl for the way she shamelessly pandered to the voters' basest instincts. I'll have to teach her about character assassination in time for 2012.
10am-- Settle in to work at my favorite wifi cafe. It's hard not to just hang on CNN.com all day. I put on Howard Stern to take my mind off things, but he's talking election too. For some reason the old coot is angry that Obama carries a pocketful of good-luck charms, most infuriatingly a "monkey god". Monkey God? I find a picture, and sure enough, Hanuman. Hindu spirit of sacrifice and selfless service, defender of the poor and forgotten throughout Asia. I visited Hanuman temples all over North India, and I once contributed a Hanuman painting to a popular CD of yoga chanting. For some reason I've been getting emails lately from people who want to turn it into a tattoo. I realize I stopped believing in good omens at some point.
5pm-- We were hoping to go out to watch the results tonight, but our sitter was booked--one of her clients was once a Presidential primary candidate. So our "date" consists of voting, picking the kids up and taking them out for Mexican.
8pm-- The restaurant is deserted. Faith thinks that everyone's glued to their TV's. Or battening down the hatches? The first polls are closing and we spend the meal craning our necks to see the TV. I talk to a couple of older guys at the bar, extras right out of a Scorcese movie. They're enraged that CNN is still posting results state-by-state, because it tends to affect the vote in places that are still open. I can't tell for sure which side these guys are pulling for. Eventually they switch to a basketball game, then leave it on AMC. Sylvester Stallone in a tux-- Rocky II. Did they want to watch something where they're sure the black guy is going to lose?
9:30pm-- Home. It looks to be breaking the right way. I take the baby upstairs to walk her around on the roof, a surefire way to get her to sleep. Usually the white noise of the traffic does the trick, but immediately I notice that there's hardly any. Almost no one's out on the street.
10pm-- The kids went down without a fight. Some clients of mine in D.C. are trading emails with their colleagues in India, trying to pin down a location for an event in New Delhi. I suggest a couple of places I visited. How can anyone be thinking about work right now? I haven't thought much about that India trip post-2001. It was a magical time, it's nice to be reminded of it twice in one day.
10:30pm-- Obama has 202 electoral votes--it's looking good. We go up to the roof for a cautiously celebratory drink before the next round of polls come in. Still very little street traffic. The city holds its collective breath. Faith wonders if there'll be a sudden surge of noise. I don't think so--different networks call it at different times. It's not a Giants game.
10:55pm-- I'm wrong. I don't know what was just announced, but suddenly an enormous roar is building all over the city. Cars are honking their horns, we see fireworks across some rooftops. We forget all about CNN-- this is what we want to be watching. The cab drivers at the gas station are high-fiving each other. People are running through the streets chanting "Obama". We stand and watch the impromptu celebration from on high for another hour. This is the spot where I stood and watched the second tower collapse. Today, a good day to be in New York.