As the daughter observed the other day, the referendum has become a bit like an exam. You've done all the revision you're going to do, and now you just want to go and actually do the paper. So, as I write this at 9.30 pm on referendum night, with the voting nearly done and dusted, it's a bit like that limbo time between doing the papers and the moment when the results are announced.
To be honest, I cant remember what I did after the other two referendums (or referenda) I lived through, and I have no recollection whatsoever of how I actually found out the result. For general elections, we have a long standing ritual, which involves some large hunks of nice cheese and a large bottle of nice whisky, and staying up till the moment when you more or less know what the result is bound to be (not usually beyond 3.00 am). There's a nicely comparative, historical side to it too (not unlike listening to the Archers, I fancy), as you compare the silly gadgets for displaying the predictions with all those you've seen before, or the eloquence of the presenters and of the exhausted politicians brought on to speak for the booming or failing parties. Why else do we get nostalgic about the swingometer--even though few of us could accurately describe what it actually was? And why else the rather jolly memories of the Portillo moment, which has mythic status far beyond the claiming of a single Tory scalp?
And, perhaps more important than any of that, there is a sense that the decision is reversible next time, and that -- important as some ideological and policy differences are between right and left -- an awful lot will go on exactly as before. You can go to bed, sorrows drowned, and think of living to fight another day.