It was the dorkiest slumber party ever, if you don't include that show on Oxygen. No one was allowed to go home until the election was decided. There was a special menu posted in the hall and the 2 a.m. cold buffet included lemon squares and jumbles! Despite the fact that we received new exit polls every one and a half hours, overexcited managing editor Walter Isaacson asked that updates be e-mailed to the staff every half an hour. People were gathered in the hall, excitedly whispering about faithless electors. My coworkers were clearly getting turned on.
Being susceptible to both peer pressure and numbers that move (I have no idea what the NASDAQ is, but I can't stop watching it), I sneaked out to my polling place to get an even bigger dose of excitement.
It turns out my polling place has a booth devoted to my apartment building in Chelsea. Which, by the way, is the gayest place in the entire world. I had no idea democracy was so social, until all the guys standing around me started shouting at the guy in the booth, who seemed to have broken the voting apparatus. "You've been working out too much!" they yelled. That was generous, considering it seemed the equipment was manufactured by Philco-Bendix. While we were waiting, the man in front of me, stylist Wayne Lukas, turned to me and said, "You're cute." So we started talking, you know. Wayne told me it was his first time voting, and he wasn't happy about the line. "You can vote for the VH1 freaking Fashion Awards online securely, but here nothing works," he said. "I want to walk out now. I have a 12:30 lunch."
At the gayest voting booth in America, the choices were limited. Very limited. The three choices for Justices of the state Supreme Court, two for judges of the civil court and one for assemblyman appeared in both the Democrat and Republican columns. When I tested out the Bush lever, it was so stiff it actually creaked. It also smelled lovely in there.
Enjoying the attention a little too much, I realized I needed to leave. As I left I was stopped by Mikey Halliday, who was wearing a Hillary Clinton sweatshirt and begged me to vote for the Democrats. I informed him that if Bush won, Alec Baldwin said he would move to France, which was tempting. Mikey is Australian and couldn't vote, which was what made him so desperate to convince me. "If Bush gets in, there's no way I'm going to become a citizen," he said. I figured Mikey had crossed Bush in some '70s coke deal gone awry, but then he explained that only Gore could provide the level of health care he needed to change nationalities. I wondered if Pat Buchanan had a plan for removing sweatshirted pamphleteers from our borders.
Later at work, I got into the state-by-state results, running from office to office on some crazed jumble high. It wasn't that I cared who became president, I just loved the sense of community. I loved the competition, and the pointless, complex electoral system. If we were voting for anything, even our favorite Gore girl an election that would have an even higher turnout I'd be just as excited. If we could vote more often, we'd be a better, happier country. Thank God for the Internet.