Saturday, November 1, 2008

early voting 08

First, let me say that it is awesome to see so many people out to vote...even before the official election day. And I'm not talking about the casual voter. I can say that with confidence because I've been standing in the early voting line for almost two hours (and probably another hour to go) and people are still lining up. I'm sure the wait by now is closer to 4-5 hours. Needless to say, such close association with a cross-section of society makes for some wonderful people-watching.

Let's talk about the people who are just now getting here. They walk slowly but confidently past the only section of the line they can see. Some have even dared to mutter "oh, it's not that bad." Poor unsuspecting voter. To this point we only thought the year-and-a-half election campaign might be what killed those faint of heart; it now appears that waiting in line could do in those that have survived thus far. And so I say, it is truly good to see so many committed people spending a glorious Saturday to exercise their right to vote.

There are those who, unfortunately, do not make it. On the return trip to their car, faces are no longer confident. It is an entirely new "walk of shame". Buck up. Others have it far worst when it comes to their ability to be involved in the political process. Nevertheless, the wait is too daunting, the sun too beautiful and other opportunities to vote still exist. Truly, I do think many of them will vote another day, But for now, "oh, it's not too bad" succumbed to the reality of a 1/2 mile line with no end in sight.

Moving on to those of us who are waiting in line. I suspect the experience is different for everyone depending on who surrounds you. For my husband and I, that means two generally quiet and patient people. However, one step removed from our neighbors are two reasons to propose new election rules. One, no sucky face in line. I'm glad to see that there are couples in their mid-life stage who still relish physical contact, but a lip-smacking kiss is not an appropriate period for the end of every sentence. New rule: no sucky face. Two, gum is meant to be a minty refreshment for your mouth. Not bubble-wrap. The woman two people back from us is quietly reading a book while simultaneously creating, locating and destroying every air bubble in her wad o' chawin' pleasure. Rule number two (and just a good one for many social situations): gum should be tasted and not heard.

Standing here in line does relieve some of my earlier guilt at having scheduled a bunch of lederhosen-clad, accordion-totin'Austrian folk-dancers in the space where the line eventually winds around. At least they had some entertainment. And an accordion would definitely drown out the sounds of our lip-smackin', bubble-gum/wrap snappin' fellow voters.

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