~ Saturday, November 15, 2008 ~
[This is really old, and I've been sitting on it for a while intending to dress it up a bit, but now I have another post in mind, so I'm putting this one up in its unfinished state to make room for the next one.]
The Advocate hosted a party here in our own little apartment, and so the greenhouse was well-stuffed with eager guests chatting tensely while we sat around the TV, glued to CNN. We cheered when Ohio went blue, and Florida, and Virginia, because at that point it seemed like we could finally stand on the ice with both feet, sort of--and then PA was announced, to more cheers. I was still deluded enough to be worried about CA, but everyone else knew that that was it, that Obama would win. We nodded along, favorably impressed, as we watched McCain's concession speech, and then everyone in the room cried quietly as Obama gave his acceptance speech, except for me, because I was still too caught up with the prop 8 business to allow myself to fully be in the moment and enjoy it.
After a while we walked down (in pieces) to 5th ave near 6th st, ending up on the sidewalk outside Bar Reis, where there were already lots of other small groups of people standing around on the sidewalk cheering at anything that moved. I could already hear the cheering, coming through as ghostly wails, as well as plenty of car horns honking, even from my apartment door 5 blocks away, which was lucky because I was the last to leave and I wasn't sure at first which way to go to find the outdoor party. I found it easily by following the noise.
When I reached The Advocate and the others, they were standing in a little group facing the street, cheering at every vehicle that drove past, as were all the other little clumps of people (that were quickly morphing into one big clump of people, friends and strangers together). It was as if 5th ave had become an impromptu parade, with the cars and trucks (mostly taxis, black car-service cars, police cars, and garbage trucks at that hour--around 12:30 or 1 am) serving as floats and parade personalities. We'd scream at them as they went by, and they'd honk and wave out their windows and shout their joy. Someone dressed up his car specially, with Obama '08 written on it with some bright pink stuff I couldn't identify, but it reminded me of cake frosting. People in the back of this car stuck their heads out the windows and screamed as the car drove slowly by us. I might have been the only person there who hadn't been drinking (not that it made me any more inhibited in my expression of excitement than they were).
We sang This Land Is Your Land and If I Had a Hammer and then we couldn't think of anything else to sing, but we watched other Park Slope folks waving American flags (unprecedented) and singing patriotic songs of their own. I saw two of my neighbors there, one from next door and one an old schoolmate from Stanford who lives in the neighborhood now. We didn't converse, but we hugged and cheered. A stranger from inside Bar Reis came out and hugged us all. Some guys high-fived us as they went by. Others, more shy, just threw up their arms at us from a more comfortable distance and cheered "WHOOO!" We did the same back. I wished I'd brought my morris bells with me just so that I could make noise using something other than my voice. I was hoarse by the end of the night.
After a while the excitement level died a little where we were. I'd heard there was more of a gathering down at 5th and Union, and I wanted to see. So after we all walked back to the apartment, I got the bells and tied them on to my legs for the first time in what must be years and I ran back down to 5th and Union. I got nods and smiles and WHOOO!!s and high fives from everyone (truly, everyone) I passed, though this may have been because of the bells and may have been because of the politically-themed t-shirt I was wearing, and it may have been because I was a human. People were pretty willing to cheer regardless. I ran nearly all the way down to Union, just enjoying the feeling of exerting joyful energy and the ja-jinga ja-jinga sound of the bells as my heels hit the sidewalk.
~ prattled by Miriam at 6:53 p.m. [+]
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