Election Day is finally here! It's a day we've all been anticipating for what seems like ages. I voted at 7 a.m. before leaving for work, not wanting to stress about sitting in traffic on the way home and cutting it too close for my personal comfort. Isn't there something so incredibly satisfying about voting? I feel that way especially this year when California has so many important props on the ballot and, of course, this is the most exciting presidential election of my lifetime so far.
I actually wrote the above paragraph last night in anticipation of today's election. I did, indeed, arrive at my polling place at about 7 minutes to 7 a.m. and I was behind 50 people who had beat me there! The line kept growing and growing. Everyone there was in a congenial mood, chatting with strangers, and excited in general. An older man brought donuts for the crowd (obviously not vegan) and a woman brought her dog.
When it was finally my turn, I opened my sample ballot and VERY carefully filled in my real ballot. I literally triple-checked to make sure I didn't accidentally vote the opposite of how I wanted to vote. Finally, I was satisfied, took my ballot to the box, inserted it, and collected my "I voted" sticker, proudly displaying it on my Matt & Nat purse.
It was business as usual in the office until we got to about 3 p.m. Our assistant, who I also consider a good friend, had convinced me to hit happy hour with her (the restaurant offered a free plate of 3 little tacos and a free tequila shot per person who had their "I voted" sticker; both my tacos and my shot went to our assistant) to watch the election coverage. Our second stop was to be a free Obama party at the Century Plaza Hotel where Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and many others were slated to be. The doors were scheduled to open at 8:01 p.m. when the polls closed in California. When we left the office at 6, we never expected the tally to happen so quickly. The next thing we knew, Obama had 207 electoral votes under his belt, so we left happy hour for Ben & Jerry's (serving up a free scoop of ice cream, sorbet for me, to everyone) and then for the Plaza. As we walked toward the Plaza's front doors at 8:01 p.m., screams erupted. Obama had already won! The energy was intoxicating, the screams were joyful and hopeful and contagious. We joined the celebration in the hotel's lobby, but never made it to the party itself. People kept spontaneously bursting into chants of "O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!" We would have stayed longer, but it was just too crowded and we both wanted to hear Obama's speech.
We made it back to the car just in time to hear the tail-end of McCain's concession speech. I will look up the footage later so I can hear the whole thing. I did, however, hear the entirety of Obama's speech and am grateful to have had that experience.
One of my closest friends has been tirelessly working on the Obama campaign for over two years. He is in Chicago celebrating tonight after driving people to the polls and performing other campaign duties. I both thanked and congratulated him tonight. Without people volunteering their time, campaigns would never get off the ground.
This is one of the most personal posts I've written and one that has nothing to do with food. Hugger Food will return to its regularly-scheduled programming with the next post in which I will tell you all about my first experience making lasagna. :)