Yesterday, rather than hole up in the office or settle on my couch with a beer (or five) and anxiously await the returns, I hit the town, to see how some of Boston's voters were passing the time until America had a new president. Some highlights:
11:30 am, in a taxi: I'm on my way to cover Deval Patrick's press conference at an Obama phone bank, and my taxi driver asks me if I find Governor Patrick attractive. I tell him I never really thought about it. He asks me the same thing about Sarah Palin. When I give a repeat response, he takes a huge bite out of a sandwich and tells me, through a mouthfull of pumpernickel, that he thinks Sarah Palin is wicked hot, but not as a political candidate.
1:00 pm, South Station: I overhear a woman telling the man behind the Rosie's Bakery counter that he needs to take a few minutes off of work to go and vote. I ask her if she'd be willing to talk to me, on the record, for a minute. She declines, but gives me a hug.
4:45 pm, polling station at 90 Longwood Ave., Brookline: I've been told that some members of the Green-Rainbow Party will be rallying here, so I T it over to see how their Election Day is going. Sadly, there is nobody here except for a handful of poll volunteers, and a few voters who are trickling in here and there. I ask two volunteers if they will answer a few questions, but they're eating their dinner. No hugs.
7:40 pm, Hard Rock Cafe: I head to Faneuil Hall, where a crowd of political (and chain restaurant) junkies have gathered to Hard Rock the Vote. Between nibbling on tiny grilled cheese sandwiches and swilling martinis, the mostly pro-Obama crowd is watching the news on several gigantic TVs. I talk to several under-30 voters, all Obama supporters, some of whom were voting for the first time. They're all ecstatic. Or drunk. Possibly both. I'm in the middle of interviewing a woman when the crowd erupts in cheers; Obama has taken Pennsylvania.
8:30 pm, in a taxi: The cab driver's radio is tuned to WBZ. He laughs when someone (didn't catch who) says, "I believe Sarah Palin has been Dan Quayle-ed!"
Jean Shaheen wins in New Hampshire.
Obama takes NH.
ABC gives PA to Obama, while CBS says it's too close to call.
8:45 pm, the Cambridge Brewing Company, Kendall Square: Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney's victory party. I chat with members of the Green-Rainbow Party, including Grace Ross, who ran for governor against Deval Patrick and Kerry Healey in 2006.
I also meet a man who calls himself "Dan the Bagel Man," who wants to know how many stories I've written about third party candidates before today (probably zero), and tells me that it's my boss' fault that third party candidates don't get enough media attention. (I don't know that it's MY boss' fault, per se, but I hear what he's saying. It's true that the media all but ignores anything that's not GOP or Democrat in times of an election.) He also tells me that all Jews are racist. I think he is one, so...that makes it ok for him to say that? I guess? But probably not?
9:45 pm, the Middle East, Cambridge: On my way into Leedz Edutainment's hip-hop show "Barack the Vote," a bouncer searches my bag and tries to confiscate my pen and pencil. I plead with him, "but I'm a journalist! I need to write things down!" We compromise, and I keep the pen. It's not as sharp, or easy to use to scribble graffiti on the walls, he tells me. Fair.
10:30 pm, ImprovBoston, Cambridge: About a hundred people have gathered to watch Boston News Net's comedy/political news extravaganza "Political Party."
The "Breaking News Team for the BNN Breaking News Command Center for Breaking News" announces that Obama has taken Virginia.
McCain takes South Dakota
MC Mr. Napkins sings "Parasailin' with Sarah Palin."
11:02 pm: Fox News gives the election to Barack Obama. Ten seconds later, so does CNN.
11:06 pm: A woman in a furry costume gives Burlesque Sarah Palin a hug (presumably, a bear or wolf hug), then asks aloud, "Does anyone want to make out?"
11:07 pm: A couple starts making out.
11:14 pm: McCain concedes to Obama, by phone. I hear the news, and squeal, "Suck it, McCain!" and then remember that I'm working.
12:00 am, Nov 5: Central Square is filled with honking cars and screaming people.
1:00 am: Still honking, still screaming.
2:30 am: I arrive home in Davis Square, which is filled with screaming people. I scream, too.