Election Night Socializing: TV/Online Immersion v. Human Contact?
November 1, 2004 9:55 AM   Subscribe

ACTUAL HUMAN CONTACT FILTER: Another election-night question, but more specifically: On Tuesday, I have been invited to a few parties, and there are some bands playing election-themed shows around town, but —the question I ask you is— should I even go out? I'm conflicted, as this political stuff is so consuming and I like to dart around on the web and on tv (and yap on metafilter) when things are happening; I've stayed at home during all the debates and primaries stuff, to the growing complaint of friends who invite me out to things. Are any of you going out on Election night? Or is it more fun for political junkies to just sit in front of the opium den of internet and tv? What do you consider more healthy? I know the debates on Metafilter was some of the most fun I've ever had, particularly the Internets moment. Can actual human contact beat that?
posted by Peter H to Human Relations (25 answers total)
I would go out if I were you, because after the riots there may not be another chance to go out after dark. What with the curfews and the police state and all.
posted by bondcliff at 9:58 AM on November 1, 2004

Response by poster: Ha, true - that was a joke I was keeping from my post!
posted by Peter H at 9:59 AM on November 1, 2004

I imagine I'll be yelling at the screen all night telling Tim Russert to stick his little whiteboard up his ass, so likely, home is the best place for that, augmenting it with some good ole community venting on MeFi. If there is a merciful and loving god, it'll be over early, and then I'll hit the bars to go celebrate. Seriously, if people are able to be social that night, they either have tremendous poise, or they don't care as much as they should. After living, breathing, eating and sleeping this election for the last 14 months, I will be a basket case. And pretty well hammered by 9pm.
posted by psmealey at 10:01 AM on November 1, 2004

Here in Battleground Ohio we're hoping to wake up Wednesday without the the headline "Ohio's election quagmire" emblazoned on every newspaper in America. Florida can keep their ignominy.

I say go out. My wife and I and two friends watched the first debate from the riverfront in downtown Columbus. It was great. Much better to be out among like-minded anxious people than anxious at home. When Kerry hit that one out of the park we were all elated at the result and happy to be together. Very energizing. I think the same will be true tomorrow. If it ends up a mess you'll at least have other sympathetic people to complain to.
posted by putzface_dickman at 10:14 AM on November 1, 2004

To my mind, human interaction is always superior to datastreams. So, I vote for going out.

That said, I dont get the insistence of some people of riding this roller coaster that will probably last all night long (if not all damned month). Do people just *need* to have all this psychic trauma in their lives? [heaven help me, I am starting to sound like jonmc]

I am going to get my kids fed and bathed, make sure my son's homework is done, read them their stories, and try to spend an hour or so learning more about various varieties of grapes, then go to bed. The TV will be off, and we'll have music on the stereo, just like any other night at our house.

I'll get the results just as fast as anyone else, and with far less anxiety along the way.
posted by Irontom at 10:18 AM on November 1, 2004

I'm going out. I imagine I'll occasionally be darting to use my host's computer (if she's ok with that).

I don't think I'll have to worry about poise as I expect everyone will more or less agree with me.
posted by kenko at 10:49 AM on November 1, 2004

I vote you go out. I have to chair a dinner meeting that will run to almost 9 Pacific. Gah. In the end it will probably be better for my blood pressure. It's good to be with people, even if it isn't always easy. No cites, but I've read that people who have regular, organized social contact live longer and recover from illness better. I'll probably drink less this way, too. Plenty of time for rioting later in the week. (After all, exercise is important, too.)
posted by cairnish at 10:49 AM on November 1, 2004

I convinced a friend to have a gathering; it would be rude of me not to go, given her anxiety over whether it was a good idea.

To me, it's better to be among friends, whatever happens.
posted by lodurr at 10:51 AM on November 1, 2004

I'm staying home. I'll be highly emotional all night, and very nervous. (= not fun company). Also, if I go out, I'll probably drink too much, and it is a school night.
posted by agregoli at 10:56 AM on November 1, 2004

Find an election party and attend. Two likely options: The county fairgrounds or county government center. If you live in your county's seat, then there should be a shindig where all the politicos wait to see whether they've won or not. It's fun to attend these sort of things.

Me? I'll be in the newsroom, the best place anyone can be on election night IMHO, and stringing for the AP. (Did you know the AP hires at least one person in every county in every state in the county just to phone and fax in election numbers? This, in spite of most counties putting their results up on the internet(s) these days.
posted by Happydaz at 10:58 AM on November 1, 2004

We're throwing a big party - at least 20 people already and it could go up to 30. And we're in Canada! It just seems like the sort of thing where company will really help make the evening easier to bear. For the our Canadian election party this year, I ended up cleaning the house to within an inch of its life and ruined my husband's birthday cake; for this one, I imagine I will be even more manic and probably a basketcase to boot. It's in times like that that you need friends, and food, and alcohol. :)
posted by livii at 11:08 AM on November 1, 2004

Response by poster: Thank you for your replies!

The thing is, I -want- to probably stay in. But I have a few friends imparticular who have invited me to something that night, and have invited me more than once. So I feel like a jerk. Is the dilemma.
posted by Peter H at 11:22 AM on November 1, 2004

tomorrow night, in my country there's a big soccer game on tv. plus, due to the time difference, the election thing'll be over by the time we wake up. I suggest to anybody to try and do the same. watch sports (maybe a rerun of the Red Sox) or a movie or go to an actual movie theatre, then go to sleep. elections-as-sports-events are usually stressful and totally not fun. since half of America will be extremely pissed off at the result anyway, go to sleep early.
there's pills for that.
posted by matteo at 11:44 AM on November 1, 2004

(there's also pills for post-election blues, but let's stick to the legal stuff)
posted by matteo at 11:45 AM on November 1, 2004

Peter H - is this the sign of a larger problem? You mention that your friends are complaining that you don't go out and you're worried about not going out again. Is it because you don't like these people; or because you prefer TV and internet to real people; or is it only this way during election season?

Depending on how far away these people live from you and what time zone you are in, it may be possible to do both. The returns will go on for hours. You could show up early, socialize and if you're not having a good time or need your own TV/Internet fix, head home. That way, everyone is happy.
posted by FreezBoy at 11:57 AM on November 1, 2004

Response by poster: Ha, complicated question Freezboy, and I thank you for it. I'm probably more of a homecat than I should be. But me and my girlfriend are both like that, and we have each other, and our separate homes to visit. I have lots of projects around the house that I spend time on. I also have pets who I adore. I rarely feel lonely, and keep up with a lot of people on the phone and letters and all that but, yeah, I'm increasingly known of as the guy who doesn't show up to things. It's a joke with friends in town about me. They see me often during the week, at work or at coffee or bars, just not for arranged things like parties.

Also, my best friends live in different cities, also, so my energy towards friends is more in correspondence. But your point about maybe showing up and splitting is a good one. In full candor, it can be difficult for me to feel comfortable and relaxed around strangers, so I prefer staying home often and barking at the television (that's a joke). This all kind of happened as a life-change for me once my really good friends started moving around, and here I am approaching 30, with my best friends all over the country and not really in the same city. So going out to things is more difficult because of all the energy it can take to develop sustaining friendships, ya know? So I have good friends in this city, but they're not my best friendships, and not as easy as my other friends. Those are farther away. It's frustrating, I'm sure other people know what I'm talking about.

To be honest, I really didn't watch much tv until this election stuff boiled up. Ha. But the fear of Bush can do that to you/.

oh and matteo - What are you talking about? There's no WAY I'm sleepin through this!
posted by Peter H at 12:24 PM on November 1, 2004

We'll be going out, same bar as 4 years ago. Whether we're celebrating or commiserating, I figure it’s a good way to deal with the tension. All are welcome—email if you’re in the DC area and want to join us.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:56 PM on November 1, 2004

Ah, we have similar circumstances, then. And you have a GF, so I'm not worried about you any more. My best friends have started to marry and move out to the suburbs and they are few and far apart these days. It is a struggle, at least in an urban setting, to forge the kinds of friendships we did in high school and college.
I can feel uncomfortable going to parties with a higher stranger to friend ratio but force myself to do it now and again. An election night party might actually be good to go to though, since you'll have some common ground to talk to new people about. Good luck!
posted by FreezBoy at 12:59 PM on November 1, 2004

I'd make an appearance early, Peter, then plan to be home by 11 (or whatever time it is by you when the CA polls close). If your really good friends are elsewhere, it's good to have close-by ones too.
posted by amberglow at 1:05 PM on November 1, 2004

Funny you bring this up... a girlfriend who just started a band and is all into it invited me to see her band tomorrow night. I was agonizing over it but was planning on going because
1. We don't have cable and I can't watch network news all night and
2. Because that's what good friends do...
but luckily (?) I got kidney stones this weekend so I'm staying home-with a damn good excuse. Might even head over to the parent's house where they have cable and a big-ass TV.

I wouldn't be too hard on yourself if you don't go out tomorrow. (But you need to go out occasionally, even if you don't feel like it. Keeps you young and alive.) But tomorrow isn't a good night if you are someone who likes to watch election night coverage. I think it's fine...it's not like it's an average tuesday night.

Amberglow has a good point...no one will know anything until a few hours after the west coast closes...so you can go and leave before things get interesting. Might keep you from throwing yourself or your TV out the window.
posted by aacheson at 1:14 PM on November 1, 2004

Response by poster: cosign on the keeping you young and alive, aacheson.
and cosign as well, a*glow on making the local friends. It's not that I don't try. I think it's harder than dating, truth be told. My girlfriend and I both have trouble with local friends, so we're no help to each other, as you can usually get local friends from the person you're dating. Ha.

Through the miracle of Ask Metafilter I have decided to go to the party, go see the band, and aim to return by 10pm for yelling at the television final figures. (laughs to self) I didn't even ask my GF about this yet. But I will say to her that the Internet says we should go, heh.
posted by Peter H at 1:51 PM on November 1, 2004

Response by poster: To be honest, my entire dilemma is just how much fun the debates were while posting to metafilter! (shames self)

Metafilter: Better than humans.
posted by Peter H at 1:53 PM on November 1, 2004

I'll be stuck at local election headquarters. Ack.
posted by konolia at 1:59 PM on November 1, 2004

Response by poster: Oh and aacheson, good luck with the stones! PAINFUL!
Maybe you'll pass them as Bush is voted out? I love symbolism.

Thanks for all the answers. And Freezboy, yeah, sounds like we're in the same sort of deal.

Best, Peter.
posted by Peter H at 2:38 PM on November 1, 2004

At a party with fellow campaigners, trying to find consistent local election returns on crappy local news. And drinking too much.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:55 PM on November 1, 2004

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