I went ahead of my friends to secure seats at the coffee house across the street from campus, the same place I've gone a hundred times to study and hang out on perfectly average days. The street vendors and organizations held most everyone's attention until about 5:30 pm, but by then I had already draped cardigans and umbrellas and placed Nalgenes and any other marker from my bag of tricks on vacant seats so they would look taken and I wouldn't have to straddle an entire corner of Bongo Java with rabid eyes and a snarl to repel the crowds. It wasn't long before my old roommate and her posse arrived. We had our seats and time to kill and coffee and Cookies for Change right outside the outdoor patio. Several times we remarked that it felt like New Years Eve, like a countdown should be in order for the event and the potential for change and our hope for change. The people rolled in like waves and the rain fell in waves and goosebumps came in waves. Everything felt too big to true.
My journalist friend had a break and excused himself from the circus in which only a press badge gets you entrance. He didn't have much time, nonetheless he took a seat and we talked about his very entertaining and informative election blog and how he had received a REAL, LIVE ticket to the Great Hoorah. Though my account is far less official than his and I didn't have a badge of any kind, just a hot tea and dry seat, I was there and I'll tell my babies about it, and no matter what accessories or adornments I was lacking, this is history.
There eventually was a countdown because we had exhausted ourselves and built a hype in our cores after two hours of waiting and watching the police guarded streets and the feather-shaped flags of red and blue whipping occasionally in spotlights and weather. The street booths shut-down and their sponsors found seats of their own. The floor space filled up first and then the front patio, the stairs leading up to the patio, the sidewalk leading to the stairs, and then left and right, as far as they could stand and still have a peek at the projection screens.
Browkow began. Our biased group of Obama supporters cheered untamed when Barack made his way across the stage, so much so that McCain's first appearance was lost in the sea of opposition. I was jealous not to be in the actual audience of the debate until the hoots and clapping wrapped me up in something more organic and bigger than myself, communal hope and fiery passion in a coffee spot that felt as much like home as campus every did.
In fifty years I wonder where we'll be as a country. I wonder how these days will affect the kids I haven't even considered conceiving and how my adulthood will be molded by the rebuild of all that is crumbling. I wonder when and how the war will end, how I'll be able to afford the utility bills this winter, the gas for my car. I wonder what this extra degree will amount to in a job market sinking like silt, and I think of how uneasy this state of our country leaves me, yet I know without a shadow of doubt that even my worst hardship brought on by the government is so weak compared to so many.