daily preciousness

Monday, January 06, 2003

election night

The Human Rights Campaign has a symbol. It's a blue square with an orange equal sign. Beach ball sized balloons decorated the Metro exit, each one displaying the HRC symbol. The balloons lined the way toward the party.

Every election night, the folks at HRC have a reception. This year, it was at the stylish Capitol City Brewery in downtown Washington DC, right next to Union Station, where (as everyone knows) Thomas Hancock and John Jefferson signed the histrionic Declaration of "Tip your canoe and Tyler, too."

So it was a very histrionic (or is that historiographical?) night. We had a fun time cheering or hissing when the returns came in. (It was mostly hissing, unfortunately. We sounded like a den of serpents.)

Burned by the previous election fiasco, CNN was being very, very conservative in calling the races. Basically, they just sat around and repeated, "Boy, this is a really close election" and "Well, um, this sure is election night" ad nauseam. It was a big electoral Super Bowl of patently obvious commentary. I didn't mind it too much, though, since it was Bill Hummer, with his smoldering, just-below-radar new hotness.

Chris had invited me to the event, along with 30 of his closest friends. (Don't you love it when somebody calls to tell you, "I'm inviting a few close friends for a party, would you like to join us" and then you see the CC list on the e-mail and it's like he's invited everyone he knows!)

Actually a few of the people on his list were bitter because they were conservative. Oh -- and they were also bitter since they'd accidentally been included. The requisite electronic CC and FW bitchiness ensued. "Why the fark would I want to attend a party that is so partisan" and "Didn’t you know that HRC is nonpartisan, you idiot!" and "What do you mean freakin’ nonpartisan? They’re only supporting Dems!" and "Well, 90% of the Dems are supportive of us, so they’re being endorsed. Hello? Less than 10% of the GOP candidates have good GLBT voting records, jerkface!" and other civilized intellectual debate like that.

I had a tuna steak sandwich with two or three pints of some smooth, brewery brewed golden lager. That was some really smooth lager. Tasty and silky smooth. I have tasted the nectar of the beer brewing gods. And they called out my name and danced a little jig for me. No. Wait. That was just the bubbles in the beer.

Chris was really into the score-keeping aspect of the evening. He was making his list and checking it twice, three times and then some, glancing carefully up towards the giant CNN mega screen. HRC had handed out sheets with graphs and checklists and places to tally how many states were "ours." (Can you imagine if a state really was "ours"? [Shimmery dream sequence fade out.] Property values would soar as every rough-and-tumble neighborhood got spruced up and gayed up to our exacting granite countertop and recessed track lighting standards? Parking lots would be dotted with topiary of frolicking animals and rosebushes sculpted like Michelangelo's David. Smoking would not only be allowed but encouraged in all public places and little old women would be forced to make beauty shop appointments twice a week. [Shimmery dream sequence fade out.]

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. No states were really "ours." Very, very few were even ours in the winning elective sense. Late in the evening, after districts actually started to close, it became all too clear that most precincts had fallen to the Dark Side. (Rebel forces had failed. The Empire had won out and Darth Vader Dubya was undoubtedly rather smug about it.)

Chris' friends ranged from the truly entertaining to the extremely annoying. I had the bad luck to stand right next to a sniveling, snarling, snide bitterqueen (TM) whose face resembled the test-taster at a sour lemon factory. Let's just call him Pucker McBiatch. That's the expression his face seemed to be frozen in. Not a pretty sight. He shared his commentary throughout the evening. Most of it was pithy, thank God, little snippets of half-thoughts like, "Oooh, I just knew Maryland was a lossst caussse!" or "Ssso, whoda thunk that Vermont would’ve gone that direction? Tee hee."

I had to fight the urge to gouge out his eyes with my knife and then fill up the bloody sockets with Tabasco sauce. Calm was the river of my blood. It flowed like DC tapwater through my veins. And I resisted. I resisted from the whole Tabasco stabbing urge. Am I proud of myself? Hell, yeah. And I'm also proud that I shared it with you today. [Pats self on back] There, there, J-Blo, you’re keepin' it real. Aaaaah, yeah!

I feared that any amount of violence, no matter how deserved, would create a bad impression of me to Chris. And he’s naturally predisposed to be sensitive to human rights and that sort of thing. So it's best to keep the bloodletting of his friends and acquaintances to a bare minimum. That just makes good sense.

Lucky for Pucker McBiatch, I was too relaxed after my 2 1/2 beers to inflict any violence on him. Plus, he was a lawyer, so I doubt that he’d have any compunction about litigi-maniacal retribution.

So I just smiled at Chris' Howdy-Doody grin. And ran my mouth. I tried to cover up my embarrassment over wanting to attack his friend by admitting to Chris that I thought he sounded like Kermit the Frog on the telephone. He was not amused.

Digging myself deeper, I explained, "Come on, that frog’s a universally loved figure -- I mean, who doesn’t love Kermit? Can you think of a cuter amphibian, whenever he gets really excited and makes his little arms flail like this" (I easily demonstrated the action with my skinny, frog-like arms.) Chris still wasn’t amused. He just stared at el gigante CNN screen above our heads and pronounced another race lost. "Well, there goes another one," he said phlegmatically, as another system fell into the hands of the Empire.

Around 10 o'clock, we were getting a little tired. So we left the brewery. Chris grabbed a balloon on the way out. I bonked him on the head with it as we left the big double doors to the hall. I couldn't resist. I guess it didn't really score points with him, since I got a less-than romantic goodbye kiss from him. It was more of a perfunctory peck than anything else -- the kind of pucker you'd give to a kindly old aunt -- not the kind you'd want to end a date with. Or even a gathering of "a few friends." Oh well, I guess I can think of worse ways to spend election night.


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