Friday, November 2, 2012

Adventures in Early Voting and the Possible Sequel To Memento

It's interesting how we seem to block the negative aspects of an experience because we have a selective memory for the sake of the greater good. I suppose that's what happens to women who voluntarily subject themselves to pregnancies and childbirth more than once.  Ladies, you are braver than I, and I admire you greatly.  But this story is less about womb aliens, and more about fulfilling civic duties.  It's election time once again and I was really excited to cast my ballot.

So once upon an early Monday afternoon, I headed to the polls, smile on my face, notes in hand, and ready to stand in line until I had my say or I got hungry, whichever came first.  When I arrived, I made my way to the back of the line.  It was busier than I thought it would be for 3 PM on a workday.  I wondered if the 8% of the population that's unemployed had decided to come out to vote on the same day as me.  Then I wondered if that figure was right, but decided that it doesn't matter in the end because I'm not gonna let my blog be dictated by fact checkers.  With my book in hand and over two hours to kill before I had to pick up my offspring, I had nothing to worry about.

And then it all came back to me like a Celine Dion ballad featuring a guy named after a baked ground meat dish.  All the local candidates were there, ready to interrupt any quiet activity that I had planned on pursuing during my wait.  NOW I remembered why last time I had decided that next time I would just order an absentee ballot.  Palm meet face.  V - you NEVER learn.  Mind you that by the time I make it to that line I've already made up my mind regarding my selections.  Candidates have about as much of a chance of changing my mind as any crazy, emotionally charged political post of Facebook.  You know which posts I'm referring to, the ones that make you wonder if your friends have been replaced by body snatchers or a thinner version of Rush Limbaugh.  So as folks start approaching me, obviously oblivious to the very important Soduku match I was trying to finish, I suddenly got the same feeling that I get when I'm rushing through the mall, avoiding eye contact with kiosk employees, except here there's nowhere to power walk to.  I'm stuck like Chuck, who I'm assuming was very stuck, because I'm always hearing about it.  I tried texting, reading my book, keeping my eyes closed for unusually long periods of time, but nothing worked.  These folks and their extended families were set on persuading me why they were the best person for the job.

My original objective was to fill out my nifty scantron sheet to get my sticker.  That goal, however, changed as soon as I ran out of smiles, nods, and phrases I never use like, "You got it", "I was voting for you already", "Don't I know you from somewhere?", "Yes, I just met your wife."  Little did they know that their words had about as much effect on me as a waiter reciting daily specials - white noise.  My new goal was to make it to that line on the ground that said "no campaigning beyond this point."  So close, yet so far.  Finally, I decided that I would just open my book and stare at it...I would stare at it HARD and not look up.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of bringing Jenny Lawson's (a.k.a The Bloggess)  "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" which made it hard to stare without reading, and I started to laugh uncontrollably.

Almost immediately, candidate Nosy approaches me and says, "Wow, what are you reading?  Sounds like fun."

Me:  Oh, I'm just laughing because the author's dog died."

Candidate Nosy: "Oh."

Me: "It's not what it sounds like.  I mean, the dog is dead, but the circumstances were peculiar.  You know those things you say, 'One day, we'll be laughing about this?'  Not that your dog dying should ever be funny, should just read the book."  I tend to babble when I feel pressure, and I have to mentally cue myself to just STOP talking.

Now, I know how bad that sounds, but I was telling the truth.  In my defense, there were other elements in the story that made it funny; machetes, stone graves, vultures, and other things you'd see in a Conan movie. I've never really watched Conan, and I always confuse it with The Beastmaster, so my description may or may not be accurate.

So candidate Nosy starts to introduce herself and I say, "I know who you are, you came to my house."

Candidate Nosy: "Yes, I've been trying to visit as many..."

Me: "You came over twice."

Candidate Nosy: "Oh, so we've already spoken."

Me: "Yes, you promised a Whole Foods and Chipotle, I'm counting on you."

I was now close to the magical line that would separate me from the metaphorical mall kiosks.  She said her goodbyes and finally, I crossed the line. I wasn't inappropriate - I literally crossed the line.  Angels sang, doves flew into the sky, and all was right in the world again....except I still had to wait like 45 minutes, but it was much more bearable without all the distractions.  I'm seriously considering getting a tattoo reminding me to get an absentee ballot next time around.  If it's good enough for Guy Pierce, it's good enough for me.  Also good for me, would be Guy Pierce, but that's a topic for a different day.