November 4th, 2008


My Election Night

Monday, Nov. 3rd, 2008, as experienced by me:

Strange day. Odd energy. It was a scramble-at-work day: lots of paper crossed my desk and went through my hands, and by chance most of the files I grabbed for organizing were especially out-of-order and needed extra sorting. I wound up late going to the front desk (to cover for the receptionist during her lunch) because I got caught up in that. We got work done, if a little manically. I didn't cover the front desk at afternoon break. The woman who did later told me "Be glad you didn't"; whatever odd energy was in the air, she'd experienced it too.

I started and finished work early, so I could run errands. First was getting in the car and driving in the drizzle up to Multnomah County Elections here in Southeast Portland. I could've dropped off my ballot from my car, as collectors were standing next to the streets, but I wanted to get it into the building. I parked a couple of blocks southwest of the place and walked up to it. I saw the congestion (voters plus commuters passing on SE Belmont), then turned the corner and saw the lines. Oregon has mail-in balloting, but it also still has voting booths, and people were using them. Big lights were set up to spotlight the people taking drivers' ballots, and the light also spotlighted the drizzle. Several mews vans were nearby, as were multiple cameras. And in that place...there was a good energy, a better energy than I'd felt at work. It was even relatively quiet. An elections worker in a PSU Vikings cap told me where the slot for dropping off ballots was. I had to squeeze past some people to do that, and I said "Don't worry, I'm not cutting." "We're charging an entrance fee," one woman in line cracked.

That achieved, I took in the scene briefly once more and then headed back to the car.

The energy got odder again after that. It was dark, of course, and wet, and it was a small challenge extricating myself from the neighborhood. I had my next errand, dropping off my car at the service place I go to out on 122nd, so I wound my way up to Stark and headed east. VERY careful driving. Which made it more frustrating when, out just past 82nd, I looked over from my right-lane vantage point and saw, in the left lane, a bicyclist in dark clothes and with no lights biking against traffic. I boggled as he past. I then yelled to myself some profanity and "Are you trying to get killed, sir??!"

The next thing to make me boggle: still on Stark, past 100th, I saw a westbound police car turn on its emergency lights...and then start driving west with no lights at all. Not even headlights. This was past dark. I briefly wondered if flashing your brights at a cop doing that is Good or Bad, and wondered too long to actually do it.

That ended the boggling, thank everything. (Quite a few emergency vehicles out last night, by the way, though almost all properly used their lights and sirens.)

I reached Ron Tonkin Honda, and had a productive chat with the service guy who'd talked to me earlier. I dropped off my car, and walked with an accomplished spring in my step (can the spring in a step be accomplished? I'll say yes) up to Max, and rode it back to Inner Southeast.

My next plan didn't go as planned, due to a power outage. I'd thought of getting something to eat at the Fireside Coffee Lodge -- open 24 hours a day with computers -- so I rode the #70 bus to Milwaukie and Powell. And looked across the street to a dark Fireside. And other dark buildings. And looked up to see that the crosswalk's traffic light was dark, too. Turned out a large swath of Inner Southeast, at least as far up as Belmont, had lost power. The outage went as far south as Powell, so my place dodged it, but my cunning plan wound up being overtaken by events. I checked in at the Subway (still powered) on the south side of Powell, and one of the workers said that their oven had blown earlier, too. So I guess they were doing decent business with cold subs.

I walked the rest of the way home, then got out of the damp-ish clothes and into the sweet, sweet warmth of dry clothes. And settled in.

Odd dreams, eventually, dreams that docbrite would likely appreciate: a close encounter with an angry cat with claws fully deployed, an encounter I got away from scratchless (thanks to some dexterity on my dream-self's part; my dream-self, it turns out, can jump really high) and imagery like a lake being held in with what looked like a five-inch sidewalk curb. There was, if I may analyze, kind of a barely-avoiding-damage feel to the dreams: not getting scratched by that cat, that lake not spilling out. Okay, thinking back on those dreams is spooking me a bit. The odd energy's still there.

Soon, work. Plus hearing what I can hear about how Election Day goes.
Whale fluke

Yet another political post but one that's personal, 'cause the personal is political or something

I want/don't want to listen to political talk.

I'm conflicted. It adds to the day's strange energy.

I'm home for lunch and listening to The Rick Emerson Show (on AM 970 The Talker, there, pimping over), because it's political talk that won't drive me crazy. Mostly.

Over the past 10 or so years, I've become a political-conversation wuss. I barely listen to talk radio because I can't stand most of it. It boggles me that back in the early '90s, I listened to someone I disagree with on an almost molecular level, G. Gordon Liddy. Yes, he had a talk radio show (does he still have one?). Today I hate listening to Dennis Miller, and I might possibly agree with him on various subjects that don't rhyme with ush or ulf. I don't always listen to Emerson, either, because at times he gets too intense -- thinking so fast that he sometimes trips over his own thought process, sounding less smart than he really is -- and in the process I get spun up and wanting to say "I MUST ARGUE!" And when I feel argumentative, I get less funny. And I don't like being less funny.

Soon I'll go back to work, where my little radio can't pick up Emerson (I tried), and once again be cut off from political coverage. Stay well-behaved, okay?
Whale fluke



I'm impressed. And hopeful. And tired, coming down from the (say it with me) strange energy the day had.

Part of me resisted saying or even thinking "President Obama" until tonight. When he was declared the projected winner, I let myself say it. President Obama. I then said "President-Elect Obama," which of course comes first.


I could sense the gospel inflections of the end of Obama's victory speech. And I applaud McCain for a classy, needed concession speech.

Okay, sleep next...