I just got off the phone with a contact who was wandering aimlessly around London, trying to find somewhere to buy lunch. He sounded drunk. Or like he was on a concoction of extremely strong painkillers.
“No, no I’m fine,” he replied when I expressed some concern over the fact he was unable to locate a single food outlet in Leicester Square. “I was just up all night watching the election. You know, waiting for something to happen.”
Of course we all know now that nothing actually did happen. Well, not really anyway. There was a collection of amusing jokes on the Channel 4 alternative show and a collection of even more amusing non-jokes across the other channels as reporters and commentators country-wide struggled with delayed results, bad microphones and having to gap-fill off the cuff like mad.
But in terms of a tangible result, the people who sat up until the small hours gained nothing more than a more gruelling Friday than those who called it a night at 11pm.
Knowing when to turn off the TV, shut down the laptop and stop checking the iphone every five seconds is a tricky one though.
I don’t know about anyone else but I found I had to psyche myself up for the moment of total election disconnection - like jumping off the top diving board or pressing enter after deciding that, actually, it would be a good idea to have some idea how much money you have left (or not) in your account before payday.
Because how much more annoying would it be to miss some real news if you were one of those dedciated enough to watch till you drop, only to go to bed minutes before a proper announcement? It’s a bit like waiting for a bus. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to walk away – just in case.
Anyway, I lasted until around 3am. A respectable innings I thought and an hour after my mother sent a text informing me that she was heading to bed – always important to make sure you don’t crash before your parents.
I found it hard to fall asleep straight away, knowing any potential developments were a mere click away but I am glad I resisted, my contact couldn’t have put it better: “It got to 3am and I thought ‘well, I may as well push on through now I’ve gone this far’. Now it is 1pm the following day, we still don’t know, I am too hungry to carry on looking for food so I think I’ll have to give up and spend the rest of the afternoon hungry, grumpy and thoroughly exhausted by this entire election saga wishing it would just sort itself out one way or another. Any result now would be fine by me. Ironic considering I was one of the ones who cared enough to pull an all nighter in the first place.”