Just before 8 p.m., as CNN was announcing that Romney took Kentucky and Obama took Vermont, a musician by the name of Billy Bones was delivering a wincing saxophone solo to a roughly 80-person crowd.
"There's a hidden place only two can find," Mr. Bones wailed as his laptop computer provided a backbeat.
Welcome to election night on the Hollywood Broadwalk, the heart beat of Florida, where just as many televisions are tuned to ESPN as to election coverage.
When the song came to an end, Bones asked the listless crowd who was feeling happy. Then he segued into a song called "Happy."
An onlooker with a hefty mustache who was wearing what looked to be camouflage sweatpants murmured "I don't like politics" when approached by a New Times reporter.
A few feet away, a pot-bellied gentleman slipped a can of beer from a zip-up cooler and discreetly poured it into a keg cup. At the corner of the stage, a woman with what can only be described as a permed mullet danced her worries away. This crowd clearly preferred the cool melodies of Bones' sax over political banter and number crunching.
|Billy Bones hard at work |
But not everyone on the Broadwalk this evening is intent on easy listening. A few hundred yards north of the stage, a crew of 30 people sporting bright-yellow T-shirts with Obama and Biden in large letters congregated outside of Nick's Bar & Grill.
They were with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and rooting hard for Obama to seal the deal.
Brandi Laffey said it's a clear-cut decision to back Obama given Romney's disdain for unions and federal employees. Jim Wadsworth, her colleague, touted how Obama vowed to fix the air traffic control system and did so within his first 50 days in office. The union has more than 16,000 members, Wadsworth said.
As for how they were feeling about their chances, Laffey said she was cautiously optimistic while Wadsworth said he victory for Obama seemed imminent.
"If we win, anything after midnight is off the record," Laffey joked before heading back to her colleagues.
More to come as the night evolves.
New Times closed at the night at Organic Brew with a giant goblet of delicious stout.
Chris, the bartender, said it was a slow night, but didn't blame it on the election. He suggested that the effects of Hurricane Sandy delayed many a snowbird from trekking down to the Sunshine State.
Chris said he voted for Romney because "Obama hasn't done shit. I don't hate the guy, he just hasn't done anything and he's had four years."
That was about as political as things got in the bar. Perched on a stool was a wasted dude cackling at any and every joke the two girls with him dropped. "I love his laugh," said one of the girls, who had a flower tramp stamp and butt cheeks hanging out of a pair of jeans that were two sizes too small.
Nobody paid attention to the election coverage that was beaming across the four flat screen televisions. When CBS News announced that Obama had won Pennsylvania, the wasted guy announced that "shit's about to get real weird," but it wasn't in reference to the election.
After the customers had cleared out, a manger explained that he's Republican but voted for Obama solely based on Afghanistan. He didn't want to see one more American life lost over there, he said, and he expected Obama to handle the situation better than Mittens.
After sampling some malt-infused vodka and downing another stout, the night came to a close.
A few people lingered around on the Broadwalk. Whether they knew or cared how close the race in Florida was or that four more years of the O-bomb was coming didn't seem to matter.