Patchy sleep and fever dreams about narrow margins and outstanding ballots. But the line between sleep and waking life feels awfully thin this week. Reporters stand in from of the White House, saying things like, “Reality has not set in for Trump that he could lose.”

It looks like Biden will take Pennsylvania and probably Georgia. This election is a nail-biter, but only because it’s unfolding in slow motion. Like everything else it has touched, the pandemic has warped the election timeline into gooey dream logic. If these results had come through by midnight on Election Day, we’d cheer a resounding victory. (The blue wall! Georgia, and maybe even Arizona!)

Last night the president stood at a podium in the White House and whined about how it’s so unfair. He babbled about cardboard and binoculars. He said the votes for his opponent were illegitimate. My skin crawled as I watched. Never in my lifetime, etc. But I’m reassured that most of the nation ignored him and went back to counting votes and waiting.

During the seventeen hours I spent in a middle school gym on Election Day, I was often overwhelmed by the chaos of the voting process. Ninety-two strangers from across the human spectrum had gathered to work the polls. Some of us had challenging personalities. Some of us had tantrums. Some of us made mistakes that needed to be corrected. We bumped into one another and got in each other’s way. We had a lot of questions, but we did our best. It was ugly and unruly, but at the end of the night, thousands of people had voted, the numbers tallied up correctly, and there was something beautiful about the whole thing.