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How I heard about Obama’s win

November 5, 2008


Just like Christmas Day, originally uploaded by Thoroughly Good.

It’s 5.30pm on a dark Wednesday afternoon. The traffic I can see out of my new office window is bumper to tail. It always is. It could be just another normal weekday although unusually for me, I can barely keep my eyes open.

I’ve spent most of the afternoon yawning. My new boss (who I understand went to bed at 10.30 last night) was able to see right into the inside of my mouth. For all I know he did. If he did then I feel a bit embarrassed. It can’t have been a pretty sight. I had red leicester and spring onion mayonnaise in my wholemeal bap today. That and it’s only my third day in the job too.

There is good reason for me being tired. Like many moved by events in America over the past 24 hours, I am an US election victim.

Embarrassingly however, I also ended up going to bed quite early – shortly after the results programme kicked off here in the UK. I was all set to stick with the results process, wanting to share in a moment of potential collective euphoria if and when Barrack Obama but I ended preferring the comfort of a firm mattress, a double duvet and two lovely black cats.

Safely ensconced, I switched on the radio and waited for James Naughtie on Radio 4 to lull me to sleep. As I slowly drifted off, one horrible thought crept into my mind.

I was certain Obama would win. It felt like he would. It felt like he’d won the Presidency of the United States last week, to be honest. I can’t put my finger on exactly why. I just knew it.

But wait … the last time I was thinking like that was when I drifted off to sleep the same night when we waited for the 2004 result? Four years ago I seem to remember being certain George Bush would be ousted.

When I woke up the morning after the 2004 vote, I was a little surprised.

Would the same happen again this time? Did I dare to go to sleep and risk waking up the following morning and experiencing some kind of Groundhog Day thing where the guy I was expecting to win it, failed?

I reached out and patted the thick fur of our larger cat Cromarty, noting the slightly slimmer one – Faero – laying at the foot of the bed keeping watch.

What felt like hours later, the lovely Simon is shaking me by the shoulders. What the hell is he doing? What time is it? Why is he doing this? 

I avoid opening my eyes. I don’t want to wake up. I don’t want to move.  

“He’s won! Obama’s won!”

That’s all I remember now. And if it’s the only thing I remember about today then I’ll definitely always remember today because of it.

Aside from the fact that Obama cut a dashing look on the regal, arc-lit podium from where he gave his victory speech and clearly looks the statesmen, he also inspires when he speaks and makes me feel excited about the future. 

More importantly, at some point in the future the fact that he’s America’s first black President will have passed from being the breathtaking statement that it is and move to becoming par for the course.

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