WHAT WERE YOU DOING WHEN YOU HEARD THE NEWS?
And I also want to remember and relish that moment when I learned that Joe Biden had won and that the end was nigh for Trump and his self-serving reign of corruption, cruelty, tantrums, and lies. In fact, I want to remember and relish that whole day, extraordinary and ordinary as the day turned out to be.
I woke up on Saturday, November 7, with the same case of stomach-knotting anxiety as probably most of the rest of the country as we waited for the election to tick to a finish. I'd gone to bed the night before with a headache from hours of nonstop listening to CNN's John King and Wolf Blitzer's nonstop talking ,
"Sure you won't," laughed Tom when I told him of my self-imposed news black-out.
But I in fact did not tune in to any news that morning. Except for every now and then. Just to make sure the election hadn't been called and Tom, himself still glued to CNN, had forgotten to tell me.
Around 11:45 I decided to go grocery shopping to help kill some time and also because we were completely out of groceries, myself having been too glued to the polls for the past week to go shopping.
On my way to the store I flipped on the radio and tuned to NPR. Just to make sure the election hadn't been called yet. Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, it had, indeed been called: for Joe Biden.
I turned the car around and drove back home, where I found Tom in the front yard raking leaves, apparently also needing a break from John King and Wolf Blitzer. I hopped from the car and called to him that Biden had won. He stopped in mid-rake. For a moment he looked in shock.
I wished at that moment that I lived in a big city where people might be out dancing - hopefullly social distance dancing - in the streets. I stood on the sidewalk in front of my house and looked up and down, but on my quiet suburban street all was still except for some neighbors working in their yards or out walking their dogs. I spied an elderly neighbor (that is, more elderly than me) for whom I'd procured a "Biden" sign. I ran over to him and gave him the good news.
"That's good," he said. "But how are we gonna get the other guy out of the White House?"
"Oh, don't worry," said I, "that'll be the fun part."
I truly felt like celebrating, but it was a Saturday afternoon in the middle of a raging pandemic. The thought hit me how strange it was to hear an election called on a Saturday afternoon with everyone out working in their yards instead of on a Tuesday night sitting on the edge of the sofa in front of the TV set. As I couldn't think of anything else to do I figured that I might as well go out and get the shopping done as we were still out of groceries.
The supermarket was fairly crowded; there was an Ohio State game that evening and people tend to be out shopping on game days to stock up on football-watching snacks. I looked at the people around me. Did they know that Joe Biden won the election? I wondered. I tried to deduce who among them might be happy and exicited, who might be crushed with disappointment. But everyone looked as inscrutable behind their face masks as I myself probably did.
When I returned from shopping I put away groceries, made lunch, called or texted everybody I could think of, and otherwise used up the afternoon around the house doing I don't recall what else other than wishing I were out dancing in the street. But just before sunset I did treat myself to a celebratory walk around the neighborhood.
I ran into one neighbor whom I knew to be a Biden supporter out walking her dog.
"How happy are you?" I asked her.
"So happy!" she replied. Her poodle expressed it for both of us.
But what were you doing when you heard the news? If you'd like to leave your own chronicle for the benefit of some future cyberarchivist who might someday come across this post, or just for yourself, feel free to write whatever you'd like to remember about the day Joe Biden won in a comment below.
Oh happy day.