Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I voted for Pedro

Date: Nov. 7
Total mileage: 19.7
November mileage: 133.1
Temperature upon departure: 22

Wow. I'm fried.

I'm also too hopped up on Diet Pepsi to quite quit the computer yet, so here I am, still - after 11 straight hours of this - watching these election returns trickle by, and blogging.

Newspaper journalists and politicians are alike in that they live for three things - natural disasters, wars and election day. I too got caught up in the ballot-day frenzy, participating in loud whoops and rounds of applause in front of the TV, gnawing on practically petrified pieces of Domino's pizza, updating every five minutes, and scrambling in the final, stressful hours of the morning to lay out all of the late-arriving stories. It was a roller coaster of an evening, and I leave it feeling a little despondent.

I expected this. All of the candidates I would have voted for lost - soundly. My vote - had it existed - wouldn't have even mattered. U.S. House Democrats trounced the incumbent Republicans - soundly. It could signal changes in the direction of the war and the economy and the environment.

Or, it could not.

I set out on my mountain bike before work today, relearning how to negotiate snow-packed roads. People moved dream-like through a nearly deserted downtown, with entire streets full of tourist shops locked away from the icicles. I caught a soft pile of sandy snow with my front wheel and side-swiped a guard rail. I had to laugh at the way simple things can so easily become hard.

I crossed the bridge into the dark shadow of Douglas Island, its towering mountains locking away direct sunlight until spring. As I rolled over the bridge's summit, I noticed a strange figure circling an intersection roundabout - otherwordly at first, but as I got closer, I saw glasses, a frizzy wig, and a wheel - a single wheel - spinning through the crunchy snow. I squinted at his sign and prepared to shoot him my best icy stare as I went by what I was certain read "Vote for Palin."

But when I finally met him face to face around that ice-slicked circle, I saw what he was actually advocating.

"Vote for Pedro."

And I realized what he was actually saying was, "Smile. It's all just a silly game anyway. And, regardless of your feelings about chimichangas, all of your wildest dreams can come true."

And I couldn't help it. I smiled.


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