1996: Atlanta, GA. The first election in which I voted. For Bob Dole, no less, because I was concerned (no kidding) that Bill Clinton was about to get us involved in military entanglements in which we had no business. I don't remember what I did that night, but being during my freshman year at Georgia Tech it likely involved some combination of heavily salted pre-prepared food, chemistry, and calculus.
1998: I haven't got a clue.
2000: New Orleans. My first big conference. I'm at some crazy party in the Quarter for the launch of some science resource website. (Did I mention it was 2000?) Liquor flows freely. From the balcony, we watch a couple in the hotel across the street have sex, silhouetted against their drawn shades like an X-rated puppet show. When they come out on the balcony after, we give them a round of applause. They come over and join the party, and it turns out that they went to school with a friend of mine, also at the party. (You can't make this shit up.) I'm hit on for the first (and so far, only) time by a guy. CNN plays in the background, and I find it mildly amusing. I wake up with a killer hangover and all hell has broken loose.
2002: Tucson, AZ. I'm in love, recently cohabitating with the woman who will later become my wife. I could give a fuck about the election, as far as I remember.
2004: Tucson. I watch the returns alone with a bottle of Jameson's. I cannot believe what I am seeing. The less said about this, the better.
2006: Durham, NC. We've just moved here, and I abstain out of principle (not yet invested in the local races, don't feel right about casting a vote where I no longer live.) I predict the changes in congress with alarming accuracy, and briefly consider going into political journalism.
2008: Durham. Crammed into Bull McCabe's Pub with about a million other people, glued to the TV. The energy is indescribable. When they call it, people spill into the streets of downtown. I think I see basically everyone I know, and it's one big, freezing party. I hope I never forget this.