Presidential Hangover

Norman, Trevor, and I caught the last show of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade’s “George Bush is a Motherfucker” tonight in Chelsea and had some laughs. Afterwards a fuzzy image of Tom Brokaw was projected on a large screen onstage, and the actors improvised a mock celebration at the Nader campaign headquarters while the election returns, nearly illegible through the static, added up behind them. It didn’t look so good at first, and while the room erupted in joy when California and Pennsylvania went to Kerry, a grim mood descended when Florida was projected for Bush. Norman and I wandered back to his place, grabbing Cherry Coke and Kettle Chips on the way, where we watched CNN, more cautious in their projections, on the new flatscreen. I stayed till two a.m, then walked in the drizzle to the 28th St station. The streets were quiet. I caught the 1/9 uptown train, the sleepy car rocking through the tunnels. A man curled up, back to me, on the seats reserved for the elderly. Latino boys in baggy jeans and headphones stared solemnly at the young woman across from me. Black knee-high boots, torn stockings, long blonde hair with dark roots. She fished a book from her purse: Sandburg’s “Chicago Poems”. Nearby a plump woman held her own book propped up on her knees: “American Assassination”. A line visible on the back cover: “Paul Wellstone was murdered.” A pale gray handkerchief tied over her head, a button on her vinyl jacket that read “W stands for Wimp.” Her eyes closed, the book shifted slowly in her hands, and her chin dropped towards her chest. She jerked awake when the train pulled into the 72nd St. station. Her t-shirt read: “I wish I could vote everyday”.

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