To my memory, there have been 4 occasions in my whole life where I was left completely speechless. Let's see, one of them was when the church doors opened and I saw my best friend walk through escorted by her dad to declare with me that our love would continue to eternity. Then, I'll never forget the first time I spread "I Can't Believe it's not Butter" on my toast because really, I couldn't believe it was not butter. Then, there was that day someone challenged me to name the three times I've been speechless in my life. And then there was last night.
Before plopping down on our couch to enjoy my Pad See Ew and Gyoza from Thai Boom (I love that name) and flipping through the cycle of NBC, MSNBC and CNN in the evening, I spent a day trying to pretend that this historic day was not a historic day at all. Understand that I was working from home on election day, and if I allowed myself to keep thinking about what was happening I would have been in front of the tv a lot sooner with two laptops beside me auto refreshing their browsers on CNN and Digg for the stories that were developing. Oddly enough, that technically is not what I get paid to do. So I put my head down, turned all media off in the house and went into a fantasy world that said that the most important thing happening was this status report and these changes that the client requested on the project. What didn't help my fantasy world was the frequent robocalls from Magic Johnson encouraging me to do my part and vote for the candidate he supports for Los Angeles county supervisor - Bernard Parks. After the 4th time in the day I started talking over the recording -
HIM: "Hi, this is Magic Johnson and I want to enc -"
ME: "Stop calling my house Magic Johnson"
HIM: "-age you to vote for Ber-"
ME: "-nard Parks, I know Magic Johnson, you already called me. Leave my family alone Magic Johnson!"
HIM: "-ard Parks and help us make the positi-"
ME!: "Magic Johnson where is your wife Cookie and does she know you're playing on the phone all day? Don't you have any meetings at a Starbucks or T.G.I. Friday's or any of the movie theaters you own?"
So as much as I appreciate Magic Johnson's determination to speak to little ole' me, I gotta tell you he is a killer on work and he's not a good listener when he's a recording. Just a heads up.
But when the text messages from friends started coming more and more - "Dude, Indiana polls close at 4pm (PST), turn on the tv" - I allowed myself to get excited that the time was finally here after 21 LOOOONG months to end this. I moved to the living room with my laptop in hand and started cycling through the channels I would be fixated on for the rest of the night - NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and VH1 Soul (oh snap, Beyonce has a new video??)
The wife came home and we positioned ourselves in front of the tv with our Thai food delivery. We had a few invitations to results parties but after the long day she had editing stories swirling around the election and then being tapped to edit the main story that was going on the front page of the paper, I was more than happy to let my home body nature call the night laid back in favor of the family.
We watched and discussed, laughed and we cried (I was cutting onions and she stubbed her toe). We cheered for our home states "good job Connecticut" and "okay Virginia, don't let us down" and then at 7:59pm PST (10:59EST) I said "well, when California, Oregon and Washington start reporting at 8 this should be wrapped up soon". At exactly 8:00pm MSNBC announced Barack Obama the 44th president of the United States of America and I was speechless for that fourth time in my life. Well, technically I wasn't void of all words, but when the only thing you can manage to say is "wow" then I think that qualifies.
We believed this would happen. We've put our brain power to figure the calculations and the numbers. We listened for weeks about the record breaking number of new registered democrats. We were cautiously optimistic with the poll numbers that were coming in daily showing significant leads or close races where they weren't "supposed" to be. But when the announcement came and was confirmed on all the broadcast and cable news channels I sat back on the couch and was only able to muster a "wow".
Wow, it is possible. Wow, it did happen. Wow, he is... Almost 24 hours since history was officially made and I'm still saying "wow" but have added "what's next".