What's an addict to do? A dozen days since the election and I'm still in the grip of incessant compulsion.
Can't read five minutes before the obsessive habit comes whispering in my ear. Causes me to lop off conversations mid-sentence, run to my computer. Watching TV, I feel the exigent craving rubbing up against me like a hungry cat demanding Kibble. More Kibble, dammit!
My writing's affected. My metaphors, lately, curl up in doorways like drunken winos.
Can coming off a crystal meth binge be any worse than post-election jitters of a political junkie in the high-tech age? I was hooked by the Iowa caucus but since the conventions, I'm like Amy Winehouse without the mascara. Rehab? No! No! No!
I've been mainlining political dot-coms and popping websites. Day and night. Pollster. Real Clear Politics. Naked Politics. Daily Beast. Huffington. Drudge. Can't stop myself. Might miss something. At my weakest, I stooped to the mind-rotting crack of cable TV news.
ONE MORE DOSE
The election's over, but I can't stop cold turkey. So I went to the Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami Friday for one last dose of Sarah Palin. (No. 3 in the 12-step program).
Police boats bobbed in the bay waters by the Hotel Intercontinental in case of a marine assault. A covey of bicycle cops patrolled Bayfront Park, as if a mob of the politically inflamed might come busting out of the Bayside Marketplace screaming "You betcha!"
Inside, governors worked hard on survivors' guilt and talked in serious tones about repairing a political party that lost among the young, women, blacks and Hispanics. Their quandary was self-evident. The gathering was about as diverse as a Rotary Club luncheon in Boise, Idaho.
Gov. Charlie Crist, a moderate soul among blood-crazed right-wingers, stopped by the press ghetto and promised Republicans would ''reach out'' to minorities. Except his fellows couldn't bring themselves to utter "reach out" words, like "amnesty for illegal immigrants" or "forget about the razor-wire border fence." No one could say anything nice about gays. Nancy Pelosi was portrayed as the evil witch that the African preacher in Sarah Palin's famous YouTube video was attempting to exorcise.
Minnesota (nice) Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Crist begged their fellows to tone down the mean talk and nasty attacks, but it was like trying to calm a marauding pack of furious Chihuahuas. Pawlenty also suggested that maybe next time around, they nominate a presidential candidate who knows how to use a BlackBerry.
Not that anyone cared about the post-election angst of a bunch of governors, some from states where 300,000 votes constitutes a landslide. We were there for a Sarah fix. If not for Sarah, the press corps would have been reduced to Fox News and three bloggers.
She delivered a speech that reprised Joe, the world's most famous unlicensed plumber, yet it wasn't much of a rouser. She might even have said something about Barack Obama, but the only words I scribbled in my notebook: "Spray on tan? Yet no sign of blotching."
Gov. Palin danced around questions about 2012 but even a vague reference to the next election sent a craving through my psyche.
Four years. Four years.
Gonna be a long, long withdrawal.