I gave some serious thought to attempting to write something smart about this week’s election, to setting something down that might ring true across both sides of the divide the presidential campaign exposed.
And I suppose I could have started with my experience in a crowded newsroom.
I’m used to busy newsrooms. However, on Tuesday night, I was surrounded by many more people than usual. They ranged from interns who were experiencing the excitement of their first election night, to the more seasoned reporters and editors, many of whom have probably run out of fingers and toes to count for all the election nights they’ve covered.
So many people were around, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see my wife walking our dog Rodney through the newsroom.
She didn’t, of course. At least, I didn’t see her. But while there is nothing like a busy newsroom to pump up the adrenaline, you couldn’t turn around without bumping into somebody.
The crowd was jarring, but whining about it is hardly what I set out to write this week. I was going to write something smart about the election.
The problem is, you don’t have to look far for informed opinions on the outcome. For example, my Twitter feed is full of election news and analysis from the pros on both sides. And for more of an armchair reaction, all I have to do is open Facebook and scroll through what my friends are posting.
In any case, I’m not so enamored by my own powers of observation to think that I have anything fresh to add, so I’m probably better off sticking to my usual silliness.
And that brings me to why I’ve got a fence to mend.
A couple of days after the election, a neighbor whose driveway parallels our backyard showed up at my front door asking what happened to the chain link fence that keeps Rodney from roaming around town with his canine pal from across the street.
I didn’t know what he was talking about until we went to have a look. Sure enough, a portion of it was torn down.
At first, we thought somebody rammed it with a car, but then my neighbor pointed out that his flower bed would have been damaged, too.
As we set about putting the fence back into some semblance of order in lieu of a more permanent fix, the most likely explanation occurred to me.
Earlier that afternoon, there had been a big commotion in the backyard. I’m used to Rodney barking out there, but this was different. He was growling and putting up such a fuss that I sprang from my favorite chair to see what in the world was going on.
While I was shooing Rodney back indoors, I saw one of the neighborhood deer, a big buck scampering down my neighbor’s driveway.
We figure Rodney must have surprised it while it was making an afternoon snack of my neighbor’s flower bed, gotten its antlers caught in the chain link and tore down the fence as it escaped in a panic.
I was so focused on Rodney and the deer, that the damaged fence escaped my notice until my neighbor stopped by.
As far as what I planned to write this weekend, the obvious thing would have been to draw an analogy between the backyard fence mending I have to do and this week’s election protests in major cities across the country.
But that would be too easy, even though fence mending seems to be the order of the day.