Tuesday, June 21, 2005

orange and red make nothing at all

So this is the afterlife. Or, maybe this is just life at all.
Being at home. Cecilia watching re-runs of Stargate SG-1, my father running his receipts through Quickbooks, each strike of the return key yielding a cheerful "cha-ching!".
And me. Sitting at the computer. Eating a dish of canned mandarin oranges.

Did the dogwood tree blossom yet this year?
Yeah. About a month ago. You missed it.

These days my eyelids flutter open somewhere around 12 noon and I take a moment to decide whether or not I really want to get out of bed.
**It feels nice to sleep again.**

Somewhere in my daily tasks someone has asked me the date.
The date? THE DATE?! Good heavens, what's the DAY?
And then it dawns on me: it has been two weeks since Election Day. Two whole weeks. Ho hum....
It is then that I think of all the email left unanswered, all the phone messages left untouched. I try to think when it was that I stopped going to church, or paying bills, or eating at home. When was it that I stopped booking shows or stopped calling friends to wish them a Happy Friday? I have no idea. I just know that it feels like forever. It feels like I never did it to begin with.

Election Day can be miserable if you really let yourself think about it. I hadn't let myself think at all about it. Truthfully though? Well, I was hopeful, confident even that Bret would win. The General Election was a different story, but the Primary was most certainly ours, I was convinced.

The numbers weren't looking good and it killed me to walk around that place still smiling for our volunteers and supporters. Every single one of those people there must have asked me at least once "how are we doing?"
I smiled and told them that it was too soon to know, but we just found out that we won Union County, so that must be good.

I was sitting at a table with Gregory and Howard when Tim walked by. I caught his arm and asked, "how goes it, kiddo?"
We'd been through so many losses together, he knew exactly what I was asking.
"You get up the next morning, you put on your pants one leg at a time and you get back to work. Just like every morning. Just like after Mike lost."
I turned away because i didn't want Greg to see my face. My lower lip was taking the brunt of the evening as I chewed it in fervent worry.

The back room, the "war" room had been off limits to most people save the campaign manager, the candidate and his family, our attorneys (Tim included) and Amanda for most of the evening. It was Phyllis who came and got me.
"Amanda wants to see you. Just you."

That's when I knew. This election night was over. We had lost.
Two years of work...

The day after a losing election day is a funny thing. Everyone gathers at some point during the day at the office, but they're not really certain why. There's nothing to do there. We are the losers. The reporters that were chomping at the bit to get our attention yesterday look at all of us as though we were street urchins begging for money today.
I hid out in my office and could hear a million and one conversations flying around me. The tears, the apologies to broken volunteers, the sound of people (already!) tearing things off their office walls, the finger-pointing... OH the finger-pointing! The blaming! The surety that this is all the fault of Steve Lonegan. The accusations that if Rick Shaftan weren't a crazed lunatic this wouldn't have happened. The insistance that if all the other candidates knew what was better for the party then Bret surely would have won... oh there is so much blame!

We blame others because it feels better. We point fingers because we do not even want to begin to imagine that this is for a lack of our efforts. We worked so hard. We neglected family, and friends, and sleep, and food, and our health. We worked 90, 100, and 120 hour weeks. We garnered speeding tickets and parking tickets and left our court dates ignored, yielding us grossly large surcharges on our insurance. We ignored symptoms of strep throat, and stomach flu, and pink eye, and God knows what else. We drove our car into the ground and when that broke down, we borrowed our brother's car without even stopping for a breath just to get the job done on time. No, the thought of it being because our our lack of effort almost hurts more. So instead, we blame. And we concoct crazy schemes to run a write-in campaign for the fall when in reality we'll all vote for Doug Forrester. Maybe some of us will even work for him.

So... all of this is past. All of this happened within the last two weeks.
And now I write a public apology for something that is eating at me and hurting me even now.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry for neglecting you. I'm not ignoring you. I am hurt. And I'm hurt that I've made others feel the same way. I've made a mess and I'm trying to clean it up, I'm just doing a very poor job of it.
Please forgive me. And please continue to care for me.

Man... what does it take to get a drink in this town?

Currently listening :
By Beck

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