So here’s a photo of Zapatero giving his victory speech outside the socialist party (PSOE) headquarters in Madrid after winning Sunday’s elections.The PSOE got 169 parlimentary seats to the opposition Popular Party’s 153.

Zapi

See that big backdrop behind him? Yeah?….Dude! I was right behind that! (No Way!) Yes way! I was totally inside the PSOE headquarters! See – here’s my press pass!

ooooh yeah

Told ya!

I was the lucky CNN intern that evening. I was safely ensconced in the press room, warm, snug, with easy access to sandwiches and little snackies and plenty of beer and wine (no Dorothy you’re not in a U.S. press room (I assume, having never been in one in the states, but somehow, i doubt there’d be wine)) .

The other interns, Kristen and Laura, were not so lucky. Laura got sent to the PP (Popular Party) headquarters, where I doubt the atmosphere was as festive, and Kristen spent most of the night with the equipment out in the freezing cold. Though, in the end she did get to snag a socialist flag-all the better to nurture her Zapatero crush with (ha ha! I told the internet you have a crush on eyebrow dude!). Seriously, if you haven’t already, take a look at the eyebrows, they’re nuts – an eyebrow gesture is actually the symbol for the president in sign language here – not kidding. He’s adopted it:

zapatero_signing

Anywhoo, most of the evening I just occupied space, waiting for something important to happen so I could call and tell someone in Atlanta about it who invariably already knew. I had laptop envy as I watched the various journalists in the room typing furiously (I at one point had a giggle to myself contemplating the anger I might inspire if I distracted one of them as they tried to transcribe the candidates’ speeches as they were happening – I’ve never seen such intensely focused typing).

But when the moment for Zapatero’s speech came I missed out. There was a terrible bottle neck to get out of the building, and my fear of crowds-so-dense-you-can’t-control-your-own-movement got the better of me and I had to watch the speech on TV like everyone else.

My only brush with celebrity was when I finally filed out of the building later and was apparently squished between some sort of heart throb (a good looking young Spaniard who kept getting shouts of “guapo” from the crowd and people asking to take photos with him) and some sort of party higher-up (a stout, greying, distinguished looking type who kept get handshakes and shouts of congratulations ). My hope is that someday I will know who these people are. These are the rare, rare moments when I realize what I may be missing by never watching spanish TV.

Wait…what was I talking about? Oh right. The Socialists won! And so then, as I passed through the crowds of PSOE supporters waving their little red and white flags I had another “we’re not in Kansas” moment as I realized I would never, ever see a crowd of electorally victorious socialists in my own country- I mean socialists? it’s practically a dirty word there.

And in my moment of passing sadness pondering this impossibility I thought; well, I get to see it here, so that’s a comfort. And then I thought how this victory meant that Rajoy can just take his Integration Contract and all his other BS immigration talk and just shove it. And I felt muuuuch better.

P.S. Another “not in Kansas moment”?: 75% voter turnout. Seventy. Five. Percent. OMG!

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