“That baby has been crying literally – literally – ALL DAY,”  I complain to my roommate when she comes home.  It’s maybe the fifth straight hour of screams that can’t possibly come from a human being.  Kitty-corner across the hall, she goes on for hours and at all times of the day.

“How does everyone burn food?”  Roomate’s turn.  It’s a few hours later and the woman across the hall has set off her smoke detector again.  Which is a somewhat nightly occurrence.  Or possibly a nightly occurrence:  “Every night between 5pm and 10pm, while you’re at work, the smoke alarm goes off!  How hard is it to pay attention while you’re cooking?”

“Well,”  I ameliorate, “I burned oil in the pan last week so I can’t really comment.”

“Yeah, and I burned food once, too!”

“Each of us in the same week, correct?”  I recall.

“So, each of us burned food once.  That’s fair.  But she burns food all the time!”  Roommate turns in to bed.

Not fifteen minutes later, another smoke detector is set off.

“OH, AGAIN?”  I muse aloud.  Rather loudly, I might add.

*     *     *

On election night, I was home alone.  I used to be afraid to be alone.  Now I am used to it.  I can even relish my free evenings spent all alone.  Getting home late from work, I loaded up a page with election results to see Romney in the lead.  I went about my nightly routine, made dinner and washed up some dishes. 

From apartment 33, the floor beneath me I heard a yell:  “OHH YEAHHH!”

I ran to my computer to see that Obama had pulled into the lead.

I lent my voice to the chorus of cheers arising from everywhere in my building:  “Woooo hooooo!”

All night long, we raised a joyful chorus while we watched Obama sweep the rest of the votes.

At the final count of the vote, I joined in screaming, as I had four years before:  “OBAMA!  OBAMA!”

My people.  My community.  Strangers.  United.  I love you all.

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