Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dangling Chads

The true greatness of a nation depends upon
the character of its ethical ideal
and the energy with which it pursues it.

(Jacob Gould Shurman)

"I need to leave work by ten to 6 tonight." I stood next to my boss's cubicle, peering over the squat gray wall into her little box of self-expression in our cookie-cutter cubbies.


"I need to drive out to the 'burbs to vote. The ballots close at 7, and it's a 45 minute drive."

She smiled at me. "We plan to let every one out by five so they can go vote."

And let us out at five they did. Awfully surprising, given the overtime we've been pulling lately. It's good to see that the bosses haven't completely lost sight of supporting grunts like me.

Some of the girls and I walked around the corner and dropped into our Happy Hour bar for a cold one before we headed to the polls. I had, by far, the longest drive of the four of us. We toasted a birthday, hassled a waitress (she deserved it - more on that later) and generally laughed off the day. The clock struck 5:45 (yeah, I know - it's an odd hour. What do you think this is, Cinderella?) and I upended my glass, waved good-bye to my fellow cubby-gophers, and started the walk home.

The old gals at the polls seemed deliriously happy to see me. It didn't occur to me that I'm probably a rare sight. I hate the fact that people actually thanked me profusely for voting, because so few people in my age group actually do it.

I signed the book, showed my ID and registration card, and waited for instruction. The last time I voted (which happened to be the presidential election), the county was still using #2 pencils and bubble forms. I remember feeling like I was retaking the SAT.

This time, they'd brought in some new-fangled machines, where you had to push in this cassette to activate it, and walk through the auto-prompts for all the different provided selections. Half the elections on the ballot were positions I didn't even know existed, much less recognizing the names listed. Some of the slots only had one name, and then a section where you could enter the name of your choice that wasn't already listed.

I contemplated voting for myself as Secretary of Treasury for Paperwork and Filing, but decided against it. I didn't have an acceptance speech prepared.

1 comment:

Mr. Miller said...

I think it's impressive as hell that you not only made it a priority to vote... but that you jumped the hurdle of asking for an early leave time from work to do it... and then drove all the way back to the community where you were registered. Class.