Monday, November 10, 2008

Ja, wir haben es geschafft!

Everyone was too nervous to talk. It was the big moment, the one we'd all been waiting for, and everyone in the room was petrified with fear of the worst. It sounds negative, but after the last two elections, we weren't about to be too careful.

Downstairs, a gospel band was playing and singing, and everything was decked out in political colors. Red, white and blue, with Obama logos everywhere. Upstairs the atmosphere was a bit more informal, with the chatter of people sitting at beer hall tables and sipping cold drinks from the bar in the next room. CNN blared in the background, but the nervous banter made it impossible to understand the various predictions about the election outcome.

It didn't matter because we knew we would all have a few hours of nervousness to wait it out until we would know more. The day had been agonizing enough, having started it six hours earlier than the eastern voting population, and now we were drowning our jitters in Augustiner Helles and Schnitzel.
The first predictions came in slowly, first showing only 1% of Indiana's returns. By the time Pennsylvania had been called, we were all biting our nails and staying awake only on a mix of beer and adrenalin. The final pronouncement came at 5am, McCain's and Obama's speeches ended after 6:30am. Needless to say, where most Americans were out in the streets shouting or tucking into bed happily ready to wake up to a new world the next day, relieved that another vote counting debacle hadn't delayed the results until the wee hours, we Munich watchers were thinking "gee, it's hard being a politically committed expat." Those of us, like me, who hadn't taken the day off of work fought our way through the day in a euphoria-lightened sleep-induced haze. Some of us may or may not have napped on the floor during lunch break. But it was worth it. Oh boy, was it worth it.

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