When was the last time you really hunkered down and dug into a juicy squirrel pot pie? You know, the ones you get at the Parks & Rec Snack Shop where they are really fresh. Like, baked that very morning, off-the-tree fresh? With that lightly toasted Kings Hawaiian bun and cranberry mayonnaise? Makes your mouth water just thinking about it, doesn’t it? Well, it makes SOMETHING water, that’s for sure.
Anyway, that’s not why I called you here today. No, today I want to tell you how this last Tuesday was a first for me in that I’ve never voted on Election Day before. I mean, I’ve voted a time or two (literally), but never at an actual polling station.
That’s right, this apathetic voter has previously voted exclusively by mail or as the government pejoritavely puts it: “absentee”. As in, you weren’t actually THERE, so we will count your votes LAST so that you won’t feel like you are part of the process.
So this year with my barely-read Official Voter Information Guide in hand, I went to the polls.
Our polling station’s voter incentive program kicks ass. Sometimes, it’s a celebrity appearance, or a really cool toy, but this time they had pies for the first 100 people to show up. Or something like that.
Man, I couldn’t wait to get in there and line up with my fellow Americans and exercise my rights. Standing shoulder to shoulder with my neighbors and poke a chad or two.
So the check-in guy hands me my ballot in a manila folder marked “super top secret ballot holder” or whatever and I say, “Uh, I’ve never done this before.” And this guy looked at me like he didn’t know what it meant for a middle-aged English-speaking white woman to utter such words.
“In person, I mean.”
The young man just kept staring. I was waiting for him to hand me my chad poker, or give me more instructions, and I opened up the folder to see a chad-less ballot. GASP! Oh no! It was more like a Scan-Tron-like, fill-in-the-bubble thingie.
This was a disaster of terrifying proportions. Like a girl who dreams of her big wedding day with overblown romantic expectations, I had always imagined my first time to be special. I fully expected poking to be involved. Instead, my new mission was to stay inside the lines. I had not prepared for this.
However, I am not without mindful resources. Adapt or die, I always say. I bucked up and did what I always do when confronted with unfamiliar situations: ask a bunch of stupid questions.
“So what do I use to fill in the bubbles with?”, I asked.
The woman next to him waved a pen in the air, but wouldn’t give it to me.
“Uhhhh, do you have those in the stations?”
Seriously, I can’t believe how stupid I get sometimes. Of course they had them in the stations. Where else would they be? Jeez.
My already blown chadpoking dreams deteriorated even further when another woman directed me away from the polling booths to a desk.
And not just a desk, but a small corner of a desk because of some stupid machinery sitting on it.
Now, when I am at a restaurant I have no problem asking for a booth when they start leading me to a table in the middle of the room with a centerpiece that takes up the whole table so you can’t actually eat off it. But I have this childhood-instilled fear of authority and so I sat down and pouted like a child facing the corner with her back to the class who’s in trouble for asking the teacher stupid questions.
And another thing! Where were my privacy curtains? Didn’t they use to have those, too? What’s this world coming to, for Pete’s sakes?
Then there was the woman in front of me in the ballot scanning line who voted for two people for President and was sent back to the principal’s office to be scolded and given another ballot. Ha Ha! What a dummy. Yet they let her have a booth. Life is so unfair sometimes.
I waited outside for my husband to emerge from the polling place and enjoyed the scenery of the park-like setting, or as I like to call it, “Duck Butt Pond”.
I slapped that sticker on with pride and drove around town to show it off before heading home because I never had a “I Voted” sticker before.
What, is it upside down? Did I put it on the wrong side? I put it on the wrong side didn’t I? Gawd, how embarrassing. I’m a newbie, get off my back. At least I voted.