Peachtree Street, 11:26 p.m., November 4, 2008
I watched the returns come in with some friends in Atlanta's Midtown last night -- tense at first, relaxing a bit as Pennsylvania came in, more as Ohio did. When Virginia came in and the networks (by and large) called the race for Obama, we went out on the balcony.
On other balconies throughout the building, people were doing the same -- down below, people were starting to spill onto the sidewalks along Peachtree. After watching for a bit, and seeing the crowd swell, we did the same.
I've never seen so many people so happy. Laughing, dancing, hugging, cheering. I'm a cynical old jerk but it warmed the blackened husk of my heart. As the crowd spilled into the street itself -- slapping hands with passing drivers -- cops eventually showed up, but even many of them were visibly caught up in the spirit of things, grinning and giving high-fives.
It probably won't be this good again, except perhaps at the inauguration. It's impossible for Obama to fulfill all the hopes that everyone has invested in him. But for one night, everything seemed possible.
(This morning, cold reality: I've come down with a cold. Bah. Hopefully, Obama's first priority is curing colds.)