Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Back In The Booth

It is a small control room, and what I will do there is nothing like what I once did. But I will spend election night mostly in that booth, in preparation for which I have been part of a series of rehearsals. My fingernails display the battle scars of those rehearsals. While I am not in the hottest seat, there is still the stress of doing the right thing at the right time, pressing the right button, having the right answer, all in the heat of the moment.

In some ways, it is like coming home--a return to the countless hours over countless years that I spent in a dark, intense room like this one. Yet, it is more like coming home to a different house, where your parents have moved and you have different siblings than when you left. There is a feeling of familiarity, and an excitement about having returned, but these are joined by the worry of whether you still fit, and the wariness of sharing "home" with people you barely know. Will this trip reawaken your desire to be "home," or will it remind you that, as they say, "you can never go home."

It is a different time, a different place, a different genre. And by the time my stretch in the booth is done, I may be too tired even to know what it has meant. Perhaps it is simply looking in the window of "home." Maybe it is redefining "home," whether I want to or not. Maybe it is a reminder to look toward what could be. Or maybe it is a reminder to appreciate what is.

I will emerge from this booth in the wee hours of the morning, different than when I entered (because each thing we do makes us at least a little different). As for what that "different" will look like, I'll just have to stay tuned..

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