I thought twice when my husband called and invited me to go vote with him over lunch, but I reluctantly agreed.
Seconds later, I was finishing up an IM chat with a co-worker when I saw our minivan pull up in the driveway—“brb” I typed, “I’m going to go vote.” I finished the sentence with an animated crying emoticon—normally this may be considered unprofessional, but it’s on our approved corporate “emo” list along with the hugs and rainbows.
“Wishing you short lines,” my colleague wrote back. I hadn’t thought I might have to wait in line—that would have been a deal breaker.
Our polling place is in a school which was uncharacteristically festooned with colorful political signs. A Santorum sign caught my eye. I don’t remember the slogan’s exact wording, but it was something like “Fighting For America.
My already over-stimulated ADD brain went into overload, “who are we fighting and why are we fighting them?” I asked myself. The internal dialogue accidentally discharged audibly and I couldn’t stop the cheer that burst forth, “Fight Santorum, Fight! Fight Santorum, Fight!”
After 15 years of marriage my husband is used to my drive-by comic outbursts, but some bystanders were caught off guard.
A woman that looked like a perfume model looked at me and said “oh, you must be a Republican!” —I couldn’t really process what she said because I was too busy cracking myself up. Then I realized there were two perfume models (moonlighting as campaigners) standing about 20 feet from the door handing out propaganda.
I cheerfully explained I usually split my ticket, took their glossy postcards, stepped inside, and threw out their glossy postcards.
As is the case in all primaries, I had to pick a political party, a difficult task for a staunch non-partisan whose claim to fame is voting for “least likely to succeed.” I held my breath and chose a side.
Four years ago, the election judge made me declare my party choice out loud—which I thought was odd. Isn’t voting supposed to be a secret, esoteric, Sphinx-y experience?
That same election, in the same polling place, one of my friends told me a judge openly criticized his ballot choice: the judge echoed the party name back—as a question—and rolled his eyes.
Things went better this time. My election judge neighbor asked me to check a box, instead of stand on one, to declare my tenuous party allegiance.
I used the electronic ballot, and reviewed it twice to make sure my over-stimulated brain didn’t make a mistake.
A nice lady gave me an "I Voted" sticker which I wore proudly. I exercised my right to vote—even if I wasn't so sure about my choice—yet.
On the way out my husband asked about the perfume models, “Isn’t there a rule against campaigning that close to a polling place?”
Back in my home office I hopped back into my interrupted chat, “I’m back,” I typed. “Wow, that was fast,” he replied. “And almost painless,” I said.