IMR: 2000: November: 17 — Friday, 10:23 p.m. HST
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

The same day I arrive at home, I somehow make it to pick up Katie at school. Note the 'jetlagged grin' and 'bed head' combination.
Our three-year anniversary is spent eating pizza, doing laundry, and tinkering on computers. Viva la marriáge!
So Jen and I became husband and wife in the eyes of the state three years ago today.

Jen constantly ribs me about forgetting our wedding anniversary, Nov. 17. To most folks, understandably, it's one of the Big Days in the Game of Life, where you get 1,200 bonus points and advance to the next level. But I have to say — as I do every year — that not only was our actual wedding as unplanned and modest as they come, but it came after more than three years of couplehood and cohabitation.

I will never forget the date, time and place Jen and I first became a couple (April 1, 1994 at 12:40 a.m., in room 201 of Hale Kanilehua at UH-Hilo). The moment is burned in my mind — the posters on her dorm room wall, the softness of her skin — six years later.

(Jen remembers that our first date, going out to see "Schindler's List," took place on March 13. I've got the ticket stub hidden away somewhere in this apartment.)

On the other hand, if it wasn't for this journal, I'd barely remember anything about our wedding ceremony. The people who were there, the vows (also safely stowed), the Chinese dinner that followed...

I guess that makes me a bad husband. Remembering the "official" anniversary is pretty high up on the hubby evaluation form. Fortunately, believe it or not, this year, even though I'm still a bit out of sorts following my trip, I did remember.

So yesterday I bought her another book she'd been pining after for weeks ("If"), and today I brought home a rose and a big wet kiss. She opted against a romantic dinner at Angelo Pietro's, and we instead ordered out for pizza and a two-liter bottle of Coke.

We ate, cleaned up the apartment, did some laundry, put a sniffly Katie to bed (she has a slight cold, so she stayed home with mama today on her day off), and discovered a leak in the bathroom ceiling.

And that's romantic enough for us.

I wrote at end of October: "I can't believe I could potentially be coming back from this trip and landing in a nation that has inexplicably voted a dimwitted Republican into the White House."

No one — not I, nor the D.C. policy wonks or former State department folks I met in Singapore — could have anticipated that I'd be coming back to a nation that has elected nobody president.

Today the Florida Supreme Court deferred action until next week. Meanwhile on NPR, a Palm Beach official was saying their just-ordered manual recount could last a month. Once long-anticipated and dreaded deadlines have come and gone like limp breezes, clearly demonstrating rules mean nothing when lawyers are involved. Jeez-us.

Of course Americans — if they're not angry or disgusted — are having a field day ("Serbia Deploys Peacekeeping Forces to U.S.," reports The Onion). Folks are now catching on to what I witnessed first-hand overseas, and that's the fact that the election mess is almost universally seen as silly and ridiculous by other nations (with both Russian and Chinese politicians facetiously offering to come to America to help). And the media is starting to do what it always does when a story drags on, and that's cover itself — the media and the election: did we go too far?

Finally — and Jen always swats me when I say this — the fact that the fate of our nation lies in the hands of people in Florida is just so wrong. I mean, of all the states, why does it have to come down to the one with all the weirdos?

As Jaimee's mother said, "You mean to tell me those old ladies in Palm Beach can play 15 Bingo cards simultaneously... but can't punch a ballot?"

Anyway. I am an ambivalent Gore supporter. Or, more directly, a strong Bush despiser. But even I have long ago found all this legal wrangling to be misguided. Punting national elections, essentially, to the judicial branch to decide just rubs me the wrong way.

So let me be among the few presumed Democrats to say Gore should concede. Again.

Even though the latest court rulings have favored Gore, let's get real. Even a statewide recount will, at best, boost Gore's tally by a couple hundred over the original computer count. (Palm Beach's 20,000 rejected ballots aside.) In the meantime, you have thousands of absentee ballots that traditionally lean strongly Republican, and appear to be doing so again.

Part of me thinks the Gore camp knows this, and just wants to drag things out to give a Bush administration the weakest possible start.

Because I think Bush — god help us — will move into the White House next year. And in a way, that's fine with me.

Why? Because whoever is president, after all this, will clearly be a one-term president. He will have no clear mandate to lead from the people, and will work with a split Congress to boot. And the legitimacy of his post will always be questioned, or joked about. (Leaving alone for the moment the fact that Bush is a moron, and will make enough flubs in a month to feed stand-up comics for years.)

Frankly, I can't believe either still wants to take the helm after all this. And after Clinton, even... tarnished, but still a strong and charismatic leader, this week making history in Vietnam and building a legacy that'll be a tough act to follow.

Jen also believes that the president elected this year, 2000, will be assassinated, something about astrology and/or past "curses" that have only spared Reagan.

Either way, I'd rather just get a Republican in and out in a flash and move on...

Anyone want to take bets on a Sen. Hillary Clinton bid in 2004?

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 17 November 2000 · Last Modified: 30 November 2000