Current mood: rejuvenated
In October 1996, I was living in Greenwich Village, at an NYU dorm. I was doing homework one night (surprise) alone in my dorm room, when I was suddenly distracted by a savage uproar. I heard a few individual screams, but it was mostly the sound you get when you breath heavily into a microphone, trying to imitate a crowd of people screaming. It was in stereo, coming through my window. My window faced an alley, and the shouts and screams of New Yorkers were echoing up the close walls. Someone stuck his head out of the apartment window across from me and screamed bloody murder.
I shut the window, terrified.
Had we been bombed? Was the world ending? What was happening?
Afraid to go outside, I called my mom, in Louisville, Kentucky.
She answered right away, and I told her what had happened.
"You really don't know?"
"No, there's no one around, but people are screaming. I'm not sure what's going on."
She laughed and told me I'd been working too hard before explaining the cause of the mass hysteria: "The Yankees just won the World Series."*
I hung up the phone and went outside.
Never had I seen such mayhem. It sounded like the zombies had attacked. People were running down the streets, screaming, shouting nonsense, climbing lampposts, attempting to run up the sides of buildings, standing on cars, and generally freaking out. I walked over to Broadway and witnessed taxi drivers tossing cigars out their windows at passersby. Strangers were hugging. The screams turned into joyous high-fives and chants. It was a beautiful thing, and I didn't even know it was baseball season.
Tuesday night in the Highlands of Louisville was comparable to October 1996 in New York.
The screams, the high-fives, the random guy-with-guitar walking up and down the street singing Woody Guthrie tunes at midnight, the cars honking and waving flags. The thrill of having voted for someone who actually won. It felt like a community, more than ever.
Yes, Kentucky is a Red State, and embarrassingly enough (to me) we were the first state to be called, which I was alerted to via text message from various friends across the country.** ("With 0% of the vote in, Kentucky goes to McCain." What's that all about anyway? 0%?) But thankfully, that was the only time that John McCain had the lead all night long. And also thankfully, I live in the Highlands, a beautiful oasis of blue in a desert of red. (Like Austin, Texas, I presume.) A place where they don't tell you you can't sing country music if you think recycling is important and you have friends of all races.
Anyway, it feels really good to be excited about doing something positive for the world.
Thank you to the wonderful messages from all over the world. It seems everyone in Europe and Asia was more concerned about our presidential election than most of America. Here's to the USA joining a forward-thinking, global community.
Maybe someday the entire world will be jumping up and down climbing lampposts and high-fiving Cuban-cigar-smokin' taxi drivers.
* I should point out that the Yankees won the World Series 4 out of the 5 years I lived in New York, and they've not won since I moved away. Something to think about.
**By the way, can I tell you how much I love text messaging. I was texting Austin, Boston, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Baltimore, Chicago -- Grant Park even! -- ... all... through... the night. Beautiful! I love immediate contact and information. I could feel the excitement through my wee little phone.
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