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Tuesday, Feb. 03, 2004 - 9:40 p.m.

Most unaccountably, my power went off today and stayed that way nearly the whole time I was at work. That the Giant Icestorm was last week seems to have escaped the notice of whoever is in charge of such things.

But aside from blinking clocks and an extra walk for my morning coffee, the outage had no impact on my day other than to give me something to do in idle moments: call home to see if my machine would pick up.

The only other out-of-the-ordinary thing about today was that I voted. The Democrats rescinded the oath requirement at the last moment, so I no longer had to agonize over whether I could in good conscience Consider Myself A Democrat. The last party I was registered with was the Greens, though since moving to SC Iíve been registered as Nothing since the state doesnít require a declaration of affiliation. Iíd decided I was morally okay with Considering Myself A Democrat because I know already that Iím going to vote for a Democrat come November. As it turned out, no moral acrobatics were necessary. They didnít even want to see my ID. I was Voter #99.

And I got a nice crispy white stack of first drafts of the first English 101 paper of the semester. They lie in wait in my bag.

Most of my experiences lately have been collective in a way mine seldom are: I, too, ate and drank too much on Sunday. I have, like you, seen Janet Jacksonís boob. I marked a small box with a pencil today. I talked about The Storm last week for several days straightÖ

Iím not used to sharing experiences like this; I seldom have this much in common with the people I run across every day. Not having a TV and not shopping combine with snooty rock fandom to make my experiences, though probably parallel, not the same as those of the people on my block, in my classroom, in cars around me on the road, in my grocery store. I feel more participatory now than I usually do, and kind of like it. Enfranchisement, brah.

I did have a mostly unshared experience yesterday, though. Iíd been thinking about Frank Black a bit over the last few weeks, thinking about how there are several albums from the past few years that I donít have and would like to get. I took a break from work to move my car, and when I got in, Frank Black was on the radio. And then more Frank Black was on the radio. And so rather than moving my car and trudging back to work, I started driving. After some idle cruising, I went to the music store and bought two Frank Black CDs before rushing back to work. My hangover was then magically cured, and I have felt full of purpose ever since.

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