I haven’t been able to write much in the past week; B. and I met up in Palm Springs for the wedding of some friends over the weekend. It was so nice to be back in California. The weather was lovely. It was Palm Springs, of course, the desert, so it was warm and sunny. We laid out by the pool on Friday — so nice after the cool weather in Boston. I miss seeing all of the flowers in California, Bougainvilla, especially. There were red masses of it all over the Spanish-style hotel we stayed in.
We walked around downtown Palm Springs before we caught our flight on Sunday afternoon, and I stopped in the “Democratic Headquarters of the Desert,” and picked up a Kerry-Edwards button and a sticker that reads “STOP BUSH.” I’ve been wearing the button on my backpack ever since. Of course, at the time, the election seemed full of possibility and excitement. Last night, as I left class in the dark and crossed the Common, helicopters buzzed overhead. They were probably media choppers, filming the activity at Copley Square, where Kerry’s rally was taking place. But they reminded me of Sept. 11 and of the riots in S.F. last spring when the US invaded Iraq. There was something sinister in the air and I knew then that it was over.
Still, I watched the returns for a few hours before giving in to sleep.
Today, after work, the helicopters hovered over the statehouse and Beacon Hill, and I thought Kerry must have conceded. We are cut off from the world, working at the front desk in the department at school. There’s no computer there for us to use, which is annoying not only because we’d love to be able to surf during our time there, but also because sometimes people ask us questions that we could answer if we had access to the internet. It was probably better that I didn’t have access to the web today, though. I am sure I would have just hit refresh on CNN for hours until the results were clear. I heard Kerry’s speech on NPR this afternoon when I got home and his voice choked with emotion.
I feel like the US is in a dark period. When I used to read my history books in high school, the period before WW II was always written in such a way that the whole era seemed shadowy and ominous, like all of the people alive back then shuddered at the miasma, even when they left their homes to shop and go to work. Like the impending evil penetrated all daily life in the form of a gut feeling. I feel that way about our country now, like something dark is rising and we must all be wary, wrap our coats tighter around us for protection.