Sensus, Interruptus

20
Jan
2009

I can’t believe it, we are actually here, living this. Obama is our president, Bush is no more.

This morning I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be alone, warm and cozy at home watching the events, or in a crowd. Ultimately I took Sivan up on her offer to join her at a bookstore in SoHo with some of her friends. I decided this was a moment of coming together and sharing, not separateness. We arrived at the bookstore to a pretty jovial atmosphere and some tech guys trying to set up their projector and internet feed. I was worried a little because let’s face it, streaming videos watched by millions can be jerky and overload the best of servers. Sure enough there were a ton of technical difficulties with stuttering video and periods of total loss of streaming. Interesting that the longest such lapse was during Rick Warren’s invocation, so at least not much was lost there. Sadly though, even at parts of Obama’s swearing in and speech we lost some important parts, leaving us feeling quite emotionally cheated. As long as the video was steady, I noticed that we could collectively engage with what was happening, and people were tearing up in disbelief that our long national Bush nightmare was at an end and a new hopeful era upon us. But as the video jumped or cut out, we (or at least I) sort of lost our emotional hard-on, left to attempt to get the excitement up when the video resumed. Maybe this was for the best, as I am not sure how the collective kitsch of  these Hollywood style buildups of feeling serve us in common good. Then again, the emotionalism of this moment in history is a kind of catharsis, allowing us to wipe away the bad feelings of the past and reorient ourselves towards a better future. As we walked the streets towards Union Square, we noticed happy faces all around. Were we projecting our good cheer onto them (and did it matter)? Since we were in the area, it seemed appropriate to go into the “W” hotel for a celebratory drink, saying goodbye to the fear and hello to the hope.