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November 11 , 2008

Exciting times, huh?

I was in New York on election day. My parents took Jay and Linda (my brother and sister-in-law) and me to see Lion King on Broadway, and the show happened to be Tuesday night. My sibs and I were kind of sad because we couldn't vote in our own communities, had to vote absentee, but the day had surprising rewards.

First we marched our parents over to our old elementary school so they could vote. It was kind of a long hike for my dad, but he did all right. We were walking very slowly, of course, so on the way, Linda invented an Obama dance, kind of like "YMCA." She and I jumped around and did the Obama dance, which was fun. There were lots of benches to rest along the way, but my dad didn't want any of it, he kept shuffling along with his walker and eventually we got there. I ran in to the playground and did two sets of pull-ups on the bars and then caught up with my family before they'd gotten to the building.

The school is the same one my brother and I went to, what -- 40-50 years ago. It was shockingly unchanged. We prowled the halls while the folks were voting. The exact same wooden auditorium seats! How could they have lasted this long without being vandalized? The same pictures on the wall. The wall tiles -- unchanged, in great shape. The tiny room labeled "Eraser Cleaner." Jay found a doorknob, brass maybe, I don't know, in a beautiful design with lettering that said "Public Schools, City of New York," really nice. I can't believe no one has stolen it.

That was fun. So then we went to the city for the show. My brother's scared to drive in New York, so I got to do it, and driving among the New York taxicabs always makes me laugh. Lion King was just okay. The costumes were amazing, but that was it. There was virtually no plot, no acting, the music was unmemorable. It was nice that the staging and costume people had a chance to be the main attraction for once, but the show was just too long. It wasn't just me, everyone in my family agreed. My dad snoozed through most of it. Most of these Broadway shows, I've concluded, are just very expensive naps for Dad.

At intermission, I got up and wandered around the theater. Was surprised to see that the lobby had huge floor-to-ceiling windows. I don't think I've ever seen that in a theater. So I went over to have a look outside, and was stunned to see thousands of people jammed in the street below. The theater window had a perfect view right over Times Square. Before I even realized what was going on, I could feel the energy from all those people. I had a view of the crowd and also could see the electronic read-outs of the election results so far. Things were looking pretty good for Obama at that point, but it was far from conclusive. High tension. It was one of the most exciting things I've ever seen, and honestly it was hard to go back in to see the rest of the show. I wanted to go out on the street. After the show, Linda and I snuck over to Times Square just for a minute, while everyone else was waiting for the car to come out from the parking garage. Someone was standing on the corner selling Obama condoms. I really didn't want to go home, wished I could stay in the city and celebrate. But we had the folks with us and so we just went back to Queens. Still, it was so great to see that.

I came home the next day and ran into one of my neighbors on the street. Asked her how she's doing.

"Better," she said.

"Oh? Better than...?" I asked, worried that she'd been sick.

"Better than the last eight years," she said.

- Sarina Lambert

Election 2008 | Exciting Times | "I Just Voted!"

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