After Sarah Palin ended what most are considering her final postmortem interview of the 2008 campaign, Houston Star reporter Shane Paley, who has been following the governor since she accepted the Republican party's nomination in late August, stopped to ask, "What just happened?"
"No seriously, where am I?"
What his fellow pool reporters originally thought was a gag quickly turned serious once Mr. Paley fell to the ground weeping, repeatedly asking, "Why is there so much snow?"
"I just remember being in Dayton, she came up on the stage and... now... oh God, does my wife know where I am? My children?" Mr. Paley said before relapsing into a routine of terrible sobs and screams, for which he eventually had to be sedated.
After an examination by a local EMT, it became clear that Mr. Paley's actions were due to the fact that he remembered nothing of the last two months of his life, having apparently lived them in a form of sleepwalking that has been known to occur amongst the reporters who followed Gov. Palin during the campaign.
"It'd happen to all of us now and then," said Minneapolis Star journal reporter Adam Patkin, who was on the trail with Mr. Paley. "Those few times she'd actually stop to answer our questions, she'd open her mouth and you'd get so focused on trying to follow anything she was saying and then suddenly it'd be two hours later and I'm back in my hotel room in my underwear. "
None of his fellow reporters had any idea Mr. Paley's condition was as bad as it was. His colleagues said that he was as social as anyone was, and that any perceived slowness was due to his southern drawl. "I just thought that's how everyone from east Texas acted," said Mark Diaz of the Miami Herald. He added, "Oops."
The other reporters watched as Mr. Paley was taken away to an Anchorage hospital before being flown back to Houston. When Mr. Paley was informed that Barack Obama had won the presidency, his sobs became louder, though most agreed that they were sobs of happiness and not the same ones of despair that he had been crying all day.
His fellow reporters were clearly shaken as they watched the ambulance drive off.
"This just makes me question everything," Mr. Patkin said. "I mean we had a fantasy football league going. Who knows what that means anymore."