Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Deep Breath

"Are you still breathing?"

My yogi asks and from the depths of my power lunge I huff and puff, desperately trying to prove that yes, I am still breathing. Instead, my leg straightens of its own volition and I stand, limp on my yoga mat. I have not been breathing.

On the street, in yoga pants and sweatshirt, I walk lazily toward Whole Foods, but am stopped by a tall, scraggy Australian. "Are you looking for a job? Do you need a job?"

Wearing pajamas at 1 in the afternoon does not mean I am unemployed.

Later I am waiting tables. A group of four, two couples, ask me who I am voting for.

I grin and try to avoid the intrusive question.

"She's voting for Obama." Says the loudmouthed blond.
"No, how do you know that? You just think that." Says the pinchfaced brunette.
"Well, I don't think I should say, since I haven't even taken your drink orders yet."
"We're all voting for Obama. SHE'S voting for McCain. Its ok. You can admit you're voting for Obama."
"DONT LET HER SCARE YOU. You're trying to intimidate her!" The brunette is hopping mad in her corner of the booth and the blond continues to expound on all the reasons why Sarah Palin is an idiot. I mutter that I'll be back later to take their orders.

Another table of five can barely order drinks, they are so engrossed in their conversation. Two couples and a single man perched awkwardly in a chair at the end of the booth. Finally one woman informs me that they have a lot of catching up to do as he (gestures to the single guy) was supposed to be getting married.

"We were all supposed to be in Dallas today for the wedding but he called it off on Thursday!"

I have absolutely no idea what to say.

At the end of the night a certain B actor is sitting in the back of the restaurant talking to a young man who is with his costar. This young man has a buzz cut and a certain bearing that I recognize. He is surely on leave or just home from a tour of duty with the military, I'd say Marine.

B Actor gets louder with each martini. "I lived on an air craft carrier, twice in my life! The shit I saw man, the shit I saw."
"Really well--" The young man is cut off.
"I was at war. I was AT WAR. Its true. Me and ---------- were filming while they were bombing Iraq!"
The military man nods his head, a nervous smile plastered on his face. "What movie?" He asks.

In the taxi, the driver actually knows my neighborhood in Brooklyn and doesn't hesitate to take me there. We get to talking about the city and business.

"The economy's pretty bad. Everbody's feelin it. And its looks like Obama's gonna win so it's only gonna get worse."

I am too tired to argue.

"Really? You think McCain's the better choice?" I mumble from deep in the back seat.

"Yea. Obama's not even qualified to be president. He was born in Kenya. There's a guy in Pennsylvania that's got a federal lawsuit out to prove it. Show me his birth certificate, huh? How come we ain't seen it?"

"So. Whaddya think of Palin?"

"Ah she's great. I tell ya what, McCain shoulda been in this thing to win. He should win and then two years in resign cuz a health reasons or something and let Palin run things for the next twelve years."

"Yea? what about that stuff in Alaska, that she abused power?"

"Aw that was all ethics. They cleared her of all charges. She fired the guy cuz he tasered his eleven year old kid. A bunch a times. It wasn't about legality. It was about Ethics."

On Tuesday I go to Yoga to the People, so that someone will remind me to breathe.

The class is half the size it normally is. Everyone is voting.

Yogi says "This is your time to breathe. Get connected to your breath. Let everything else fall away from you." Her voice is soothing and earnest, but I cannot find the breath.

At Clinton's house, we all sit on the edge of our seats, watching the coverage. We are finding it hard to believe as it seems to go more and more in Obama's favor. And it does. Colbert and Stewart are brilliant. I drink too much Prosecco, too much Miller Lite and at some point, just enough tequila. Boyfriend and I stumble home, jubilant.

I dream that there is a miscount and enough people wrote in Sarah Palin. She is the new president. I wake up gasping for air.

But we all saw him, live from Grant Park in the heart of America, behind large panes of bullet proof glass, with his family and Joe the Senator. We all know what he said and how we felt hearing it. I am grateful for this breath of fresh air.

Barack Obama is the President-Elect.

My brother is whistling "High Hopes" in the living room as he watches CNN and I am still breathing.