What a night.
Yes Obama won. Yes we spent most of the night in a Parisian palace, where there was an endless supply of champagne (though we didn’t have any till nearly dawn). And yes, we were on live TV, billed as “the Geeks in Love, a Franco-American blogging couple.”
All of that would have been magical enough. But I must say that the most extraordinary thing about this night for me was that I got to spend it with my son in California.
(Outside the Sénat at 2:00 am. More behind-the-scenes pictures.)
Caroline, the host of Parlons blogs ! told us we’d be popping in every hour on the hour for a few minutes. She asked us to touch on the role of the Internet in the election and to give our take on what was happening across the pond. Vincent had the special assignment of doing some live Geeks In Love drawings during the course of the show.
So for five hours, we had a bunch of sites on our screens and several Twitter feeds up so we could track the buzz from all over the world. I had all my IM programs open (four of them) and exchanged occasional comments with friends, family (including Vincent’s mother and step-dad, who were watching us on the Web) and total strangers, while history happened.
We got there at 2:00 am and the show started at 3:00. In the brief opening segment, we were just introduced and had to smile nice for the camera, no talking. Then we had 50 minutes to kill.
A few minutes later, a chat window popped up with a “Bonjour momma!”
My boy. I had e-mailed him the day before and asked him to open his IM program if he was around so we could talk during the show.
I sent him the link to the live feed so he could watch. I asked him about his voting experience. He told me he was wearing his NATCA t-shirt (the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the union he recently joined, which endorsed Obama). He took it off and sent me this picture while we were talking.
We talked about the results as they came in, about the girl he’d met at a party a couple Fridays ago, he said Melissa and Jordain (high-school pals) said “Hi” (obviously chatting with them too). He’d told his co-workers his mom was going to be on TV in France and they didn’t really believe him. He got the video feed up. “The blond girl’s cute,” he said. “She’s right in front of me!” I responded. I told him when we’d be on next . He watched. His comment: “Vincent looks as unshaven and laid back as usual.” Yep.
And it was like that, as natural as can be, hanging out and shooting the breeze virtually with my millennial son, thousands of miles away.
It was he who told me that McCain was conceding, so I flipped to the screen with the news. We watched that together. Not long afterwards, Obama started talking. We watched that together, I with tears in my eyes. Vincent took a picture…
After McCain conceded, Caroline told us we had to have champagne to celebrate. We complied, willingly. We had only one more spot to do at that point, even though it turned out to be an hour late because of the speeches. (That just meant more time for champagne…)
After Obama’s speech, my son and I talked some more. He was moved. He told me he could hear fireworks and car horns honking outside, he said he had felt a weight fall from his shoulders, that he didn’t think he could yet grasp how truly big this moment was. He was feeling hope, he was seeing history. I was there with him and he was with me.
A few minutes later, Natacha Quester-Séméon (whom I think of as the Web Fairy of Paris) and her brother Sacha interviewed me for their news site MemoireVive.tv. Of course, I talked about how happy I was to be sharing the experience with my son over the Internet. Natacha and Sacha, being millennials themselves, totally got the beauty of the thing.
When we’d done our last spot, a little after 10:00 pm my son’s time, he said he had to go to bed. I was surprised because it was so early. “I have to control airplanes in the morning,” he said.
I’m so proud.
Once the show was over, once I’d said goodnight to my son, Vincent and I walked arm-in-arm and mostly silent through the rainy dawn of a new day to the métro station.
Like I said. What a night.