Does this sound at all like you, or someone you know (asking for a friend)?: You woke up this morning and you realized, Oh crap, it's Election Day. You've been so busy, with work and the storm and personal things, it's not your fault, not at all. We don't blame you. As you scramble to find your polling place (and are relieved to find that, in New York, you can vote wherever you want, thanks to Sandy), a vision of that fateful night in long-ago 2008 comes to mind. You were seated among like-minded individuals, stylish and youthful, energetic, passionate about the future of America. You were wearing—what in heaven's name were you wearing? Oh, never mind. It was heartening, in any case, to know that such brilliant and intriguing people surrounded you in a large 2-bedroom apartment in Williamsburg at this particular moment in the nation's history. You felt like somebody. Somebody who maybe even had a job. (Did you, in fact, have a job? Never mind.)
Through the duration of the party—it was a party, after all, not just a viewing excursion in another nabe—you ate good cheese and crackers, and dipped an occasional tortilla chip in a bit of guacamole, or maybe some salsa. You sipped, and sometimes slugged, white wine. You were thirsty! You nibbled on a carrot stick, pairing it with hummus, and the conversations ebbed and flowed but were always entertaining, with snark flowing as free as the wine. Your companions were, after all, magazine writers and editors, mostly—the print kind! With Twitter a relative unknown way back in the old days, people talked to one another, sometimes even looking at each other's faces, in between looking at the television screen and reaching for the pretzels. There was a television. There were jokes made, so many jokes; there were laughs; and at the end of the night when the new president was declared, the joy overflowed the room and you were all carried outside on its waves. There was screaming (the happy kind) and cheering and frolicking in the streets, and maybe someone you knew threw up, or maybe they didn't. The next day you woke up, hungover but happy, happier still for a moment that you didn't have anywhere to be at 8 a.m., having, yes, lost your job weeks before. So the next four years of your life began. A lot has happened since, but we won't go into all that.