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I grossly miscalculated this thing. The plan was to walk around my neighborhood—-the perennially chill, increasingly crunchy Bloomingdale—-and then head to U Street, and then get to the White House just as Ohio or Florida broke for the winning candidate in order to shoot choppy footage on my white iPhone.

Instead, Karl Rove is playing fuzzy math on Fox News and talking about “pseudo cage matches.” About an hour ago, Iowa went to President Obama and Rustik Tavern’s patrons erupted—-owner Diton Pashaj rings a newly installed win column bell. I’m drinking a Chocolate City Copper Ale, taking electoral mental notes, and realizing that this thing is a wrap. Rustik’s staff is off-duty, libation swag on 100, gathering momentum.

Up Rhode Island at Boundary Stone, it’s standing room only. Every CNN projection begets a collective reach for your camera phone, and shitty pictures of the television. They call Missouri for Mitt Romney. Two sips later they call the ball game. There’s Kool and The Gang and live takes of Kogelo, Kenya dancing like it’s Carnaval. Everyone was in it for the long haul, but it’s well before midnight and it feels like when the Super Bowl ends—-who wants to stick around for The Voice?

Walking back to my basement, I see a cluster of construction workers fixing a hole at T Street NW. They know what happened because every car zipping by is honking. All four men are basically elated, even though they say this shift will go to three or four in the morning. A gentleman named Russell speaks up. “They thought we were stupid,” he says. “They thought we’d vote for the party that put us in this position.”