There is a real sense of being in a foreign country once you touch down here in Anchorage. Sure you have the familiar fast-food chains and huge oil company buildings. The roads are familiar and everyone drives on the right side of the road. But the feel of the place is different than the interconnected towns and cities in the Lower 48.
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I woke up this morning at 5:30 a.m. to the sounds of apartment dwellers bustling about in the dark getting ready for work. I fell asleep again and woke up to just a faint hint of dawn. I yawned and stretched and rolled over to find my phone charging on the ground next to the bed.
9:01 a.m. What?
I scrambled for the shower and dressed in a few minutes and dragged my wife our of bed to drive me to work.
The dark mornings are a blessing and a curse. I like the quiet pre dawn darkness. It’s one of the best times of day to really focus. But curled up in bed with sweet darkness all around, it’s tempting to just close your eyes and drift off again, especially after getting home at 2:00 a.m.
Election day is a sacred day for journalists. The excitement is palpable in the frenzied way newsrooms get started as counting begins in earnest. Broadcast stations are dead in comparison. Mostly because our entire operation moved off site and into the Egan Convention Center, otherwise known as Election Central.
Anchors worked a live set while producers and reporters wrangled candidates for first interviews after initial results. The Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times and other national media outfits made an L-shaped army with computer shields around the back wall of the center.
I haven’t really worked an election since Obama was elected president, and the sights and sounds got my journalistic juices flowing. I followed Kortnie, one of our web team members, around to some of the different candidate parties, and all I wanted to do was pull out a notepad and start collecting quotes and color for the big election story.
My small contribution to the overall newscast on election night was staying in touch with our web team members manning the station at KTUU and checking to see when our updates were coming through on our mobile sites. And I just can’t wait until the next election. I want to be right back in that journalistic mess that is election night. Because on the other side is a beautiful thing.
As usually happens, the day after election day is a big come down. The journalistic adrenaline that surged the night before starts to leave your system, and you feel the tiredness of having stayed up until 2 a.m.
The gloom of the north doesn’t help either. The sun just doesn’t have the strength it has at lower latitudes.
When the sun does shine, it reflects off the Chugach range like a giant mirror. The saw-toothed tops remind you of what beckons beyond. Alaska.
I am happy these first few days in Alaska. Now it’s time to get the family settled, back in school and on with life.