Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Antic and the Candidate

Today was Atlantic Antic, the annual street fair along Atlantic Avenue where local merchants, restaurants, and community organizations line up for blocks, offering food, music, and stuff, stuff, stuff to buy. Every year I stumble upon a gem or two, a shop I never knew existed or passed without noticing. For the past three years I've invited a friend to go with me, and each year I've been disappointed that the friend doesn't enjoy it as much as I do - they rush past the booths I want to stop and browse through, or pause too long at the ones I'm quickly bored with. So this year I went by myself, which is what I thought I wanted. But I felt alone among amid the hand-holding couples and stroller-pushing families.

The character of the Avenue changes as you move west from the water, and so does the festival, from Middle Eastern to Latin to Caribbean. Falafel gives way to rice and beans to jerk chicken. Entertainment shifts from belly-dancers to a couple singing Johnny Cash and June Carter songs, to a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black." Kids dancing, parents swaying, lots of smiling.

This year there were many many people selling Obama buttons, t-shirts, and posters. (No McCain. There is no contest, not at the Antic.) I bought two buttons and a shirt. I watched as two little girls had their picture taken with a life-sized cardboard cutout of the candidate. A woman told me that she'd gone to the Democratic convention, and that she'd been fighting from the start, collecting signatures to get Obama on the ballot, back when nobody thought he had a chance.

And it hit me, really hard, that if he doesn't win, I'm going to be really really upset.


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