Thursday, November 06, 2008


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To be fair, I have to admit that I actually started partying even before the election results came out. I dunno, for some reason we were cautiously hopeful even the night before. So at the Election party in Luxembourg we had a great time...for about an hour.

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Then, I started to suspect however that the crowd was only about 50 % American, and of the Americans 98% were democrats……over the age of 55. I felt like a kid that got dragged to a grown up party. I very boring grown-up party with really bad "hamburgers" made from questionable meat content. (Turtle? Pigeon? Otter?)

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At about 10 we got bored and decided to head back to Metz because we’d heard there was a mock election at CafĂ© Rubis. By the time we got there of course both the election and the voting were finished. (Apparently French bars are much more efficient at holding elections than American polling sites.)

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All that was left over was a few crumpled up ballots, so we drank wine and talked with random people in the bar until they closed at midnight and we had to go home. But to be honest, by then I was exhausted from all the drinking and anticipation. It was killing me. I went home and fell into bed. For a few hours anyway.

Around 5 AM my eyes shot open. And I had this terrible feeling of dread. My mom told me that no matter the hour, she would call me as soon as she had the election results. Still in bed I turned to look at the alarm clock. Still no phone call. SHIIIIT!

I tried to stay in bed a few more minutes but I couldn’t. I wanted to know whether I needed to start celebrating or mourning. I flew out of bed and went downstairs to my studio to turn on my computer to see the election results. As soon as I read Obama elected president, I actually had the thought: “Hmmm, maybe I’m not really awake.” But hey-- if it was a dream, it was a good dream, and I wasn’t in a hurry to wake up. I went in the living room, fumbled with our 7 TV remotes, and was finally able to turned on CNN just in time to hear Anderson Cooper say that President-elect Obama would be speaking soon in Bryant Park. At this point I knew I must be awake because I never dream about Anderson Cooper. (Seriously folks. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. He looks like a freakin' cyborg.)

Time out---at some point I ran back upstairs to tell FrenchBoy that Obama had won. I believe his exact response was: “Grrrfntpl.” And then he went back to sleep.

So I went back downstairs to watch Obama’s acceptance speech. Now, I’m a fairly emotional person, but I don’t exactly go teary-eyed at movies or sentimental TV commercials. So when Obama walked out on the stage with his family I was surprised to find myself sobbing. I blame Sasha and Malia. The camera zoomed in on them and I just lost it. I thought to myself. “Oh my God, these two little Black girls get to live in the Whitehouse!” And with that, snot flew out my nose and almost landed on the flatscreen, not far from Michelle Obama’s left foot. Thank God I was alone. FrenchBoy would have never let me live that one down. Not in this lifetime anyway. In my head I could already hear him retelling the story to our grandchildren 30 years from today: “And when President Obama came on stage…your Granny got so overjoyed and she got to cryin’ and carryin’ on , and she shot boogers all the way onto my new flatscreen TV set!” *insert laughter of grandchildren here. Not because of the snot, but because they can’t believe people actually got their information from TV back in the olden days.*

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Wait. What were we talking about again? Oh yeah. Obama won. Time to Party!

Jill said that if Obama won she would invite a bunch of people over for Champagne breakfast at her place starting at 10 AM. I popped a bottle of champagne in the fridge, got showered and dressed, threw the fore mentioned, now properly chilled, champagne into my purse, and ran out the door. (yeah I have a really big purse.)

Instead of taking the car, I decided to walk. Besides the fact that I knew I would be doing lots of drinking that day, I wanted to walk because, I needed to walk. In the matter of a few hours the world had changed on me, or at least the way I saw it had changed and I know it’s ridiculous, but I wanted to go out and see if the world looked...different. That type of seeing has to be done on foot. Yep. I needed to walk.

Also, there was the fact that I was a bit afraid to drive. Between being jittery and wired from having less than 4 hours of sleep, my ever so slight hang-over, and the fact that every time I even thought of Sasha and Malia my eyes would go all glassy with tears, I feared I might become distracted by my joy and blissfully drive my new car directly into a tree…and not even care that much. How’s that for a definition of “euphoric”?

Photo by Doug Mills for the New York Times.

Even on foot, I made it to Jill’s house by 10AM, in record time inspite of having to hop-scotch over an epic amount of dog poo en route. When I finally arrived, instead of ringing her kitchen door bell I peered into the window, held the champagne up next to my head, and did a little dance until she saw me and let me in. “Can we have champagne for breakfast?” I asked. “YES WE CAN!” I answered my own question. And that was before we started drinking.

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From here it all gets a bit fuzzy. There was lots of champagne and even more laughter. Somewhere around the third bottle of champagne we got a phone call. The local France 3 station was looking for Americans to interview about the election results. “Sure!” we said. Cuz getting’ interviewed on TV, in French, when you’re really really drunk is always a good idea!

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I got interviewed, then immediately forgot what the hell I said, but I hear I didn’t make a complete ass out of myself.

After my drunk interview I headed back to Jill’s for coffee and a ceremonial burning of a Sarah Palin mask that she had made for her Halloween costume. The whole neighborhood got in on the excitement. Well, they kinda had no choice since we were standing out in teh middle of the street yelling.

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It took forever to burn her. She wouldn’t stay lit. ( Which in my humble opinion is just one more piece of evidence that supports the widely discussed theory that Palin is demon spawn sent to destroy our mortal souls in service of the great powerful destructor of all things holy and just---Lucifer the fallen angel himself.)

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah, burning stuff.

We managed to finish burning all of her head, excluding her left jawbone, moments before the police arrived. Clearly, luck was on our side that day.

On my walk home I called my FrenchBoy to tell him about the burning. His response: “That’s not normal.” (Oh how I will always adore this man for his understated sense of humour and deadpan delivery.)

But he was right, ya know. It’s not normal. In fact there was nothing normal or typical about this day.

This day was simply fantastic.


Ms. Wooden Shoes said...

Your election experience in France sounds quite alot like mine in The Netherlands. I woke up at 4:00am Wednesday (still the night before in the US) to get ready for the "Whose the President Breakfast" in The Hague sponsored by the American Embassy.

After getting dressed, I came downstairs to watch a few minutes of coverage on CNN before heading to the breakfast. Obama had 232 electoral votes at the time and the countdown was on for the polls on the west coast to close. At 5am here, the flashed on the screen that Obama was the presumed winner and the tears just started flowing. I tried calling my mom in L.A. (8pm there) so that I could shout with somebody and not just be sitting alone in the dark in my living room savoring the victory, but couldn't get her. I too woke up my husband (American) to tell him. He mumbled congratulations then went back to sleep, since he had to be up to get our daughters ready for school in a couple of hours. A few minutes later my cab came and I went to the breakfast to celebrate with Americans and Dutch alike.

There were several tv screens around the room, so I continued watching the coverage there. Soon president-elect and his family appeared on the podium in Chicago and the tears started again.

I had been feeling disappointed that last few weeks that I would not able to be in America for election day. But actually I was exactly were I needed to be. I have seen America through a very special lens these last few years living abroad and seeing this historical election here proved to be very moving. Seeing how informed non-Americans were about the election and how unphased they were about a black man running and how excited they were when he won made me so proud.

ShaNic Design said...

I was at home in Atlanta, when they announced that he won. I was so excited. I was crying, my mom was crying. I just finished now. lol.

I am so happy.

dougphoto said...

here are some shots from grant park chicago

Madame K said...

yep. Enough tears of joy to form a small man-made lake.

Doug- I saw your photos on your wife's facebook page! i love!

OMYWORD! said...

You rock, snot and all. I am thrilled with Obama's win. I met with MBA students on Wednesday in Paris and it's all they wanted to talk about. They were from all over the world, but it didn't matter. We are all one. woo hoo!

BebeJardin said...

Awwww Madame K, we are kindred spirits! I wrote a blog posting about my experience in Harlem that night. Amazing doesn't even describe it. Our lives has been dramatically shifted...Anywho, check out me blog for pics and things from 125th Street. I still am a bit weepy to be honest :)

purejuice said...

what a great post, thanks.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Sadly, it was a little different in southern Virginia. Dead quiet.
I think my husband and I were the only Obama supporters in the neighborhood. Yet he even won Virginia!

On election day I had to go to the doctor's office. I was actually afraid to wear my Obama pin because I was scared the office people would keep me waiting to punish me or the doctor wouldn't cough up the free samples I wanted (no insurance). And according to all the huge 12-foot signs around here, this is McCain country. But I wore it. A black woman was at the desk when I checked out. She saw my Obama pin and we both exchanged kindred glances (although I am white.) I got butterflies in my stomach. I think of her now. I can only imagine what she must feel like because I, myself, am bubbling over with joy. I still cry when I think of what this all means.

So that's why Sarah Palin was able to put a spell on people who appear to be halfway intelligent? She's some kind of demon spawn!