I feel like something really important happened yesterday and I can’t put my finger on it. What was it? Seems like it was something of national importance….It wasn’t my sister Angie’s birthday — that’s actually today. Happy Birthday, Ang.
No, it was something else. It was Election Day! And I voted, of course. I’m pretty sure I would get fired from my job and kicked out of Northern Virginia if I didn’t. Voting is practically a cult practice here in the greater DC area. All the political nerds up here seriously geek out on Election Day. It’s the nerd version of the Super Bowl.
Hell, there were even very nice people at the metro station after work on Tuesday offering to drive people to the polls. Sure, stranger, I’ll get in your nice warm car and let you bend my ear about politics and I promise I won’t hurt you or anything. Let me just wrap my head around this: in a country where hitchhiking is illegal in some places and ill-advised in all areas, these strangers are offering rides to other strangers. Got any candy as well?
Not realizing my PM opportunities, I instead got up early and trudged the four blocks over to my voting station and stood in a long line in the balmy 34 degree temperatures for an hour.
I, of course, immediately decided I hated all my fellow voters. They were too damn chirpy for so early in the morning. It was a bunch of cheerful, talkative yuppies holding those damn Starbucks holiday cups, wearing North Face jackets, and pushing ginormous strollers of screaming, cold children who were not at all impressed by democracy in action. I, too, wanted to scream. Mostly something along the lines of “Don’t you have jobs?? How are you standing in line decked out in your weekend hiking casual clothes with a kid and a dog in tow??”
Meanwhile, I was trying to do my civic duty with wet hair, no coffee, mismatched gloves, and a pressing need to get to work already.
But the worst part was that all these really eager voters really, really wanted to talk to each other and share their life stories. At 7:30 in the damn coldest morning in November. Ugh. If my polling station had not been located at a fire station with rescue crews annoyingly nearby, I’m pretty sure I would have killed someone.
Luckily for them, there were candidates and their families on hand to talk to them. And talk. And talk. And….talk.
Finally, after an hour of waiting, I gained entry to the various checkpoints you have to navigate to vote. Where I was then greeted by PAINFULLY cheerful people who felt compelled to perform their own caffeine-fueled stand-up routine explaining multiple times that the ballot sheet was two sided. Everyone got that, two sides. Don’t get confused. There are two sides to this brightly colored, largely printed (seriously, you could see the print from space), slightly larger than legal-sized paper ballot.
Since it was nice and warm inside, I actually tried to slow-roll my way through the whole voting process. I was trying to warm up. But since the entire ballot comprised about 8 questions, I was done in about 30 seconds.
It’s always so anticlimactic, this whole voting thing. It’s also impossible for me to imagine the amount of money and effort and collective brainwashing that goes into this whole thing. Just imagine: You’ve been begging for a job for months and months and months, pouring money into….yard signs, and whatnot for ridiculousness sake, and you then depend on a whole bunch of really excited and weird people across the entire country to get up early, go out of their way to stand in line and fill out a piece of paper. It’s really quite incredible and kinda, slapdash after all that effort.
So, good luck to all you candidates, all you oddly eager seekers of school board appointments and city council seats. I feel so close to each and every one of you after this morning, so don’t mess it up.