The election is over. Thanks goodness. I don't know if I could have handled even one more day of the hysteria.
I'm so exhausted from the nearly two-year continuous election cycle that I have had a hard time paying attention to anything remotely political since Tuesday night. My system, long overloaded, has been waiting for a break. With the fiscal cliff fight looming ahead, it’s bound to be a short one at best.
I was so anxious for the Race to the White House to really be over on Election Day that I refused to go to bed on Tuesday night until I had witnessed both the concession and victory speeches. I forced myself to stay awake into the wee hours of Wednesday morning despite my exhaustion, just to make sure.
It’s silly, but I was petrified that if I went to bed before watching this with my own eyes that I'd awake in the morning to find that something had changed over night. I had to have closure to sleep. I had to know that the uncertainty and anxiety was indeed going to be over for a little while. The unknown, for me, is excruciating.
I waited, watched then slept like a rock. I awoke bleary-eyed with only a slight sense of dread on Wednesday morning. After quickly checking the headlines before making coffee, I enjoyed a peaceful breakfast with my husband, absent a news show or paper.
As the days have gone on, my sense of relief has only deepened and spread.
I was delighted on Thursday morning that while tuning into BBC radio on the way to work, there was only a brief mention of the U.S. presidential election results before an in-depth accounting of international news. Things, important things, have been happening around the world even as America has been frozen, fixated on the presidential race.
Another sure sign that the election delirium is lifting came after flipping on the television during prime-time last night. For the first time in weeks, it wasn't an act of madness but of mindless entertainment. I never thought I'd enjoy a hospital commercial so much!
Our home telephone also got plugged back in on Thursday morning. I had unplugged it in a fit of rage last month after the fourth robo-call before 10 a.m. disturbed me on my day to sleep in. How nice it is to have a working phone in my home office again.
My email box is once again not mostly full of trash each morning either. The constant barrage of messages from candidates, super PACS, and interest groups campaigning electronically all but disappeared over night. It’s easy once again to find the pertinent communications. Maybe this month my electric bill won’t go overlooked, lost in a sea of political spam.
Standing in the grocery line is even more pleasant than it has been. I’ve been enjoying the shift of conversation back to the weather and produce prices instead of divisive social issues.
If only it would last.
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2653.