Mr. Alarcon Goes to Vegas


On Voting, People Who Collect the Folk Art of People With Whom They Have No Cultural Connection, and the Red-faced Waitress Who Pulled The Plug

The weekend before Daniel Alarcon joined the stream of get-out-the-voters headed to Vegas from the Bay Area, I ended up at a Halloween party he was DJing. It was on Valencia Street in San Francisco, in an open storefront, and I sat on the couch drinking from a flask still feeling too awkward to move my body in any fashion that might resemble a dance. But Daniel’s good, and the music grooved, and I felt floaty as I stared up at the TV, commentators voices drowned out, the latest poll numbers scrolling by. Good and drunk and rideless at 3 am, my buddy and I crowded into a car with Daniel and a couple others. Daniel said he’d drop us off at our places in the East Bay. Somewhere on the bridge, he starting talking about his upcoming trip to Vegas, and how nervous he was about the election, and how much work Obama would have in front of him even if he did win. I was glad, even with Obama’s victory seemingly nearly assured, that someone was keeping two feet firmly planted in pessimism. On election day I went to work as usual, and later celebrated in stunned glorious confusion, in my comfy proverbial Bay Area bubble. Daniel, on the other hand, was out trekking through Vegas convincing unlikely voters, and later TSA agents, that Obama was worth getting excited about. Here’s the story he brought back.

-Jesse Nathan

Jesse Nathan is an editor at McSweeney’s and the managing editor of the Best American Nonrequired Reading. His poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in jubilat, the American Poetry Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Nation. He was born in Berkeley, grew up in Kansas, and lives now in San Francisco. More from this author →