Election day 2004 was weird, weird weird...how and where do I begin? well, maybe I'll begin (at) the begin. (sorry, it's long...names changed to initials)
Start out early, 8am early, doing last-minute GOTV cavassing in Miami Shores. Pretty basic stuff -- get a list of people registered Dem who may or may not have voted early already. No teams today, it's all solo so as to get best coverage. Starts out great -- first lady tells me no way she'd vote for Kerry because his wife is too stuck up, he gets $500 haircuts, is snobby (too French?). Ramble, blather..whatever.
The rest of the morning goes by with some interesting conversations, some people who want no part of me -- 20-something guy who's not interested in voting -- some people voting for Kerry, a woman who's husband, a social studies teacher ferchrissakes, will most likely vote for Duhbya.
The big story happens at the end. Last house on the route...knock on a screen door. On the other side is a big courtyard with a pool. And a little tiny yip-yip dog. Little dog comes CHARGING across the courtyard and burtst through the screen door (which I hadn't noticed was ajar) and aims straight for my right calf, taking a chunk of flesh in his teeth. The little bugger comes back for more, so I use my clipboard to try and fend him off. See, I didn't know yet if the lady had voted and voted for Kerry. So as much as I'd have liked to kick the dog clear to Key West, I needed to make sure to get the vote.
So here I am, bent over, swatting at the yip-yip dog with my clipboard, he's running in circles around me so I'm spinning in place while swatting. At some point he gets under the clipboard and makes a nice gash in my right hand, on the meaty part below the thumb. So now I'm bleeding, not profusely, but not in drops. It's running down my wrist. Finally, along comes Ms. Dog Owner, in a towel (just out of the shower, and no, this is not turning into a Penthouse forum letter), apologizes, runs back in and gets me bandages and peroxide. Assures me that dog has had rabies shot. But hey, she'd voted early for Kerry, so it's all worked out, right?
Fast-forward to that night (forget the trying to get a tetanus shot at South Shore...they were stacked up with no docs and lots of patients, so 4 hour wait...I'll take my chances). Election watch party at the National Hotel. Meet my friend K and her ghost roommate T. He is a Bush supporter. Only one in the bar. They're drinking champagne. We do an electoral vote pool, and T is the only one taking Bush. We're either deluded by the exit polls and/or too optimistic.
The night goes by and the election slips away from Kerry. Once Florida was called for Bush, I knew it was over. All that work and he still lost. Still, I'm having a good time, drinking up...next thing I know T is being escorted from the bar by the bouncers. Huh? K is off talking to a friend, so doesn't see this happen. We find her, get the story and it's something about T getting into it verbally with some guy who objected to T's cheering the Bush victory. Whatever. I was having a fine time chatting up L, a lovely woman. Makes the night more than bearable.
We all leave, L walks with me and we hang out for a bit before my friend J, in Florida from DC covering the elections for a newspaper, comes over to crash before she flies out the next day.
Speaking of flying out the next day, I have a 9am flight to Kansas City for ASHE, and I have not packed yet. Shit. So, L's gone home, J's arrived and watching MSNBC. I'm packing, deciding to stay up all night. Which I do, save for a 30 minute power nap. Sleep on the plane (which for the first time ever I was on a one-stop flight where I didn't change planes...while waiting in Charlotte on the plane, clean-up guy asks if I'm stowe away. I say, dude...if I'm gonna stow away it's gonna be to Hawai'i, not Kansas City).
Get to KC and so far it's been like a wake. Everyone has a glum look, as if someone had shot our puppies.
Anyway, the next 4 years can't be that bad, right?