If you’ve ever auditioned for anything, ever, you understand what suspense is. You’ve felt it the moment right before the list goes up, right as you walk up to see if your name is printed on it. In that moment, you are powerless. You can’t change anything, and you don’t know anything, and you’re just hopelessly waiting for the next moment.
For the people of France, last night at 8 p.m. was that moment.
Unlike the presidential elections in the United States, where the results trickle in throughout the day, the French election announces one result: the winner. I was expecting 8 p.m. to be a rough estimate, but the news channel started a corner-of-the-screen countdown right at 7 p.m. Just like on New Years! Except this was counting down to find out who would lead the entire country for the next five years.
My stomach was doing Olympic-quality gymnastics, and hey, I’m not even planning on making my livelihood in this country. Talk about drama. One moment, Sarkozy’s and Hollande’s faces were flickering on the screen (Hollande’s eyes with Sarkozy’s chin, Sarkozy’s hair with Hollande’s mouth), and the next moment —
Overdramatic, or worthy of the occasion? At the very least, it sure beats Al Gore and George W. Bush fighting about the results for a few weeks in 2000 while American voters slowly lost interest in the whole thing.