Good question. I should have gone to that party. I passed it at the beginning of the night and it called out to me. Fun people, not like those uptight Slopers. It’s true what they say, racists never prosper. History doesn’t support that, I know, but wouldn’t I have had fun if I’d not been such a bigot? Clearly, my experience, and not the experience of the world, should make the rule.

Fuck. Why don’t they have bumper stickers anymore? I might have passed one that said “Racists Never Prosper” and my whole night would have been different. Or a t-shirt. Why don’t all t-shirts glow in the dark? True, I’ve never seen one that said “Racists Never Prosper” but I might have tonight. Maybe.

Don’t wanna drop my keys and wake somebody up. A lot of people seem out early, though. Holy shit, it’s 10AM, where are all the people?! Didn’t notice the day happening while I was walking home.

To the office, I mean.

Okay, yes, I’ve been living in the office. It’s an apartment, so why shouldn’t I? Before I was elected, I didn’t even have a real address, I was sleeping in a storage space. Not a storage PLACE, I’m not an animal (unless it’s necessary), but my friend uses a tiny apartment for storage and I lived in the aisle between the stacks of teetering boxes poised to tumble and kill me.

Wha…where are my keys? Don’t wanna drop ’em and… Oh yeah, it’s daytime. I can hurl ’em to the ground and it won’t mean nothin’ t…”YAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!! (That’s not someone upset by falling keys. I got inside and am shriekin’ like a mofo.) WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!!”

“Will you stop yelling?”

“This CAN’T be the wrong apartment unless everybody uses the same key and THAT would only happen if they bought the locks at the 99 cent store. Wait, my used tissues are on the desk.”

“Yick.”

“I didn’t say what I used them for.”

“We had a meeting scheduled. You were late.”

“Are you the girl I was supposed to interview? Didn’t you get my note?”

“It said to wait.”

“And you waited all night? You’re CRAZY. I would NEVER hire you. You SCARED me.”

“Awww. You got some messages. I told your answering service to unforward your calls and started taking them here. Not too many but the local Democratic club called this morning and I thought…”

“Okay, you’re hired. Tell everyone else who calls that I’m home today, a little under the weather.”

“You’re going home? Do you have a cell number I can…”

“I AM home. If you need me, shout. You didn’t move the couch, did you?”

Ah, my wonderful couch. All that’s left is the snoring. And the periods when I stop breathing due to apnea. I probably shouldn’t have hired that girl all cute like that, like you see in a movie, but that’s the way things are in my head, I’ve been ruined by movies and stuff just like everyone else. I’m sure I’ll regret my decision, but I’d regret any decision I’d make on any basis, so what the fuck.

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“On top of that, de Blasio didn’t even have an OPEN BAR!!”

I ended up on the sidewalk at dawn, talking to those big, black guys outside Tish James’ party.

“Damn, Andrew, what a drag. But I want my mayor to look after money. Open bar here, though. Tish is gonna be public advocate, so she advocated for her guests to get drunk.”

“Open bar at the Lhota party too.”

“Republican dude?”

“In Manhattan. All businessmen and pols, no women. Was like hanging out with elderly misogynists in a world without gender. They had good scotch.”

“Man, I love Scotch.”

“Here, I stole a bottle.”

Reached inside my coat. The guys got excited.”

“I lost it.”

They got sad. Sun was gettin’ bright. Tish came out. (I find her kind of attractive.)

“Andrew! Were you here?”

Wow. She knew who I was.

“Yeah, dude. How come you didn’t come here?”

“I’ll go get someone.”

The guard disappeared and I realized I had a moment of opportunity. I could give in to the voice in my head that says, “Run awaaaaaaaaaaay.”

I didn’t want to be conspicuous. Conspicuousness in this context could only be embarrassing. I was the guy who says, “I’m on the list.” Desperation defined me.

Herr Gatemeister returned.

“Look, you don’t have to get anybody. If I’m not on the list and you don’t feel you can let me in, I’m happy to…”

De Blasio strolled out, all tall and handsome. Oh, why did it have to be him?

“Somebody said they’re a friend of mine??”

“I didn’t say that, I…”

De Blasio squinted.

“Who are you?”

“I’m Andrew Lederer, I…”

“Oh, yeah. The guy with the video.”

“Yes, but I’m now a…”

“You can come in.”

Hah! It hadn’t been too embarrassing. I followed the mayor-elect as the crowd sounds and yuppie pulsations grew stronger.

“Andrew, you didn’t have to be nasty to my associate.”

“I wasn’t nasty, I was sar…”

Mister Mayor(-elect) was gone.

I want to bask. And I want to weep. The sun that drenches the world around me lifts me beyond the ken of mere optimism.

Yet I have a hard time getting dressed, for pants and shirts mean the larger world, a girding to meet it. A deceptively sun-drenched world that is always dressed, always girded to meet me. And the moments of additional preparation this provides The Way Things Are unevens the battlefield, makes my fly-zipping and shoe-tying mere draping for futility.

I may be a David but the world is not Goliath, as both combatants needed equally to put on their sandals, thus were psychologically prepared for each other in equal measure. I would expand on this analogy if I knew anything about the bible, so maybe I’m wrong. About the bible story, I mean.

But I’m not wrong about me. And the world.

I did get into the Bill de Blasio party.

On line at the armory to get into the de Blasio party, I decided I was not a racist, since de Blasio has a black wife and two black children and I would, upon entry, be celebrating his win. In some ways, I realized, I was less a racist than de Blasio himself, who, when he married, could not have been certain his children would be black.

I, on the other hand, know his children are black. I was therefore embracing a victory by a family three-quarters black, where he could only have been certain his family would be one-half black, at the time of his marriage.

“You are?”

“Andrew J. Lederer.”

“I don’t have you on the list.”

“I’m a congressman.”

“You’re a CONGRESSMAN?”

“You don’t have to be so surprised.”

“Do you have ID?”

I showed him some.

“That’s a driver’s license.”

“What do you want me to do, show you my congressman’s badge? I left it in the cereal.”

“There’s no need to be sarcastic, sir.”

Was this guy not gonna let me in? He was just a scrawny white guy.

(When Lou Reed died, I, with purest superiority, decided every news anchor whose only reference was Walk on the Wild Side didn’t really know who they were obiting. But doo d’doo remains perfect shorthand for black backup singers, so I was right to use it, don’t think otherwise. And don’t make the mistake of thinking I don’t know of whom I refer. A guy I used to work next to played the Velvet Underground constantly. If not for him, I might not be pan-Reed conversant, BUT I AM! And anyway, I worked with Reed on a movie. Of course, in movies, working with someone doesn’t mean you get to meet him or are even on the same continent. But I did get to meet or, more accurately, see him once in the wardrobe trailer. I think maybe the wardrobe ladies said he smelled, but that could have been me. What I seem to remember is that they said that about him – or someone – and I wondered what they said about me.)

Problem was, every step closer to the de Blasio party made me feel like a racist. Why should I be intimidated by big, intimidating black guys? Maybe they weren’t even supposed to intimidate me and I just decided they were. But they participated in my indoctrination into the big, black guys at the door intimidate me club.  Every big, black guy who ever worked as an intimidating door guy trained me and everybody else in the world to see them that way. Except maybe these guys never worked that gig. Is it fair for me to tar all big, black door guys with one brush of socially incapacitating fear? Maybe Tish James’ big, black guys weren’t even working the door. Maybe they were just standing there. For hours. With clipboards. Anyway, what are verifiable big, black door guys supposed to do? Not take a job at the door? It’s hard to find a job. Is it their fault they make money off a racist intimidation factor? Why don’t white singers get grief when they perform with only black women behind them? Don’t the colored girls go doo d’doo d’doo do d’doo do?

God, it feels like this is all happening now, rather than in my memory. Maybe it’s ’cause I’m in the same bar having the same can of beer I drank to bolster myself before returning, yet again, to that elusive party. I figured three dollars was a reasonable price to pay for the necessary confidence. Crap.

I wonder if this is the EXACT same can of beer. Did I leave some over? The phlegmy brew is giving me no confidence in the bar, just as it failed to make go back to that shindig for which I’d been girding. Fortunately, on election night, the hoppy mucous had been accompanied by a NY 1 guy on television, waiting at the Park Slope Armory for de Blasio’s party to kick into gear. That was probably the party to be at anyway. And it was close.

Two major citywide victories in one night, both for Brooklyn pols, with parties near to each other, right in my home borough. What better proof could you get of Brooklyn’s increasing preeminence in the municipal equation? I was proud. And also glad, ’cause it meant I could walk to the de Blasio soiree and not have to pop for a cab.

I don’t mean to be a naysayer when it comes to the importance of voting. It’s just the whole experience was disappointing this time around.

Not because it was brief. Some of my best moments have been brief. But see, they used the old lever machines the last two elections, the type you find in news photographs from the ’50s; big, metal, Marvel villain-shaped behemoths that don’t look complete without iconic political figures emerging, smiling, after voting (presumably for themselves). Soviet-looking, oversized, brute force mechanisms that were reintroduced, despite being illegal, for vague logistical reasons back in September (for the primary) and October (for the run-off).

Now, it’s November and my polling place, the same one as last month and the month before, greeted me and co-voters with tiny, low-tech podia on which we marked paper ballots we were forced to carry by hand to a scanner that absorbed our decisions and, at nearly one-eighth light speed, tossed them in the direction of Voter Central, where they take permanent residence in the “Brain of Democracy,” which floats in unspecified solution there.

Not nearly as cool as the old machines, know what I’m sayin’?

Strolling through the ‘hood toward voting, hence destiny, I’m fascinated by the colors of the autumn leaves ‘neath the shifting red and green of traffic’s early lights. Again and again, green turned red by way of yellow, and I felt a musical pulsing, within or without, I was not sure. Could be the pulse came direct from the lights, whose changes synchronized with, maybe, every twelfth beat. New lights on different corners, I moved, semi-exorably, toward the schoolhouse, as pulsing throbbed frontside my brain ‘til I’m in one spot on one corner counting beats between changes, then beats, then beats, then changes, then beats, then changes again.

I was outside Tish James’ victory party. It wasn’t magic or anything, her base was nearby. I wanted to go in and be a laugher too, but those victory beats were premature.

Mere minutes ‘til the election was over, I still had not elected.

I re-hustled my ass and cast the last vote of the night.

In a schoolroom world, with my one vote, I had changed everything.

In reality, I had changed nothing.

But I’d done the right thing. I must have.

On my sweater, a sticker stuck by an elderly poll woman read, “I Voted.”

There was a flag on it. That has to mean something.