Freitag, 11. November 2016


My first ever election was also a presidential election. I was planning to vote for Ralph Nader, but an appointment to check out an abscess led to hospitalization in a neighboring state and I was unable to vote. (They had absentee ballots but only for residents of the state.)
I woke up on November 6th and the rest of my stay in Floating Memorial was spent watching chaos on the news. That was my introduction to the electoral process.
Election 2004, I was registered and voted in Philadelphia; the day after Halloween. That night, my boyfriend - now husband - was in Boston, waiting in the cold with Kerry supporters. He'd not been allowed to vote, but was excited to see this part of the victory. The summer before, I'd visited him in Switzerland. His friends and family were excited about the coming election. The courts had elected W. previously, but the American people would set it right...and that Chicago politicia's speech at the convention! But alas, the American people gave him their stamp of approval and the next day I couldn't stop crying. I went to my nanny job and hugged my charges a bit too tightly and during nap time, my boyfriend and I tried to console each other over the phone.
Four years later and a time difference of 6 hours away, I went to sleep before the election was called. The phone rang in the middle of the night and my husband asked if I wanted to get up. I told him that if the results were unfavorable, I wanted to enjoy the not knowing a little longer. But the caller was our friend downstairs, ringing to tell us that Obama had won. We turned on the telly and cried and hugged. We rang my brother who was in the streets of New York, celebrating with his neighbors. We had friends over to watch the inauguration.
Election 2012, we'd just been living in the US and were still so hopeful and very gratified at the outcome. I mean, come on, "binders full of women"?

Laughing on Wednesday

Wednesday morning, my husband and I made plans to meet for lunch before he left for the office. He'd been working on the sofa since 4am, but it was time to go to the newspaper and attempt to make sense of the American election for his Swiss readers. The idea was, that it we had an anchor in the middle of the day, it could be an oasis. It meant that he wouldn't sit glued to his computer and experience the distancing power that writing the news apparently gives to reporters, if they can be believed. It meant that I wouldn't sit on the sofa with my sore throat, stuffy nose and headache, crying over the news all alone.
After a couple of hours of mouldering in the internet, I got dressed up and put myself together as much as possible and set out to walk, to brave the fresh air, clear my head and clear my head a bit. I ran a couple of hours, used a bunch of tissues, and as I was heading to my husband's office early with a book - for the companionship - I got a phone call.
(I'm crap at answering the phone, especially when I'm feeling fragile, but I've learned that it's the adult thing to do, so I did it.)
The oblivious fella on the call said that he saw that I regularly attended a fitness center. (Effing Base Fit...selling my information...) As someone who is clearly interested in my health, he thought that I would be an excellent customer for his health insurance company. Oh how I laughed. It was so refreshing. Oh, how I needed to laugh and how that man delivered it to me on a silver platter.
"Pardon me, but your information about me is woefully full of holes. I work out regularly, I have an artificial intestinal exit, I've had Crohn's disease for 20 years and took injections that cost 4,000 CHF per month for 4 years very recently. You don't want me as a customer. Let me be someone else's problem."
He thanked me very genuinely for my honesty and wished me a good day. It couldn't be that. It wasn't a good day and hasn't been a good week. But for a 4 minute phone conversation I had a laugh at a man who had rightly mistaken me for a healthy person.