Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Getting Our Vote On: First Hand Accounts

In honor of the big brouhaha that is Election Day, we present two voting experiences from this morning: yours truly from the East Coast and our own all your pink are belong to us holding down the West Coast. Enjoy.

Him: I'm embarrassed to say I woke up like a little kid on Christmas Day. I'm a cynical pessimistic New Yorker. My vote doesn't count so why should I care, right? But something about today, waking up and watching the sun rise on a surprisingly warm November day..it just seemed right. Like something special could be in the air. I shamefully think I spent more time getting ready and picking an outfit to wear to this voting booth than I have on any of my previous dates. A nice new shirt. Soothing shower. A symbolic washing away of the old of yesterday. It felt good.

Her: I slept in. It was a long Monday yesterday (as it always seems to be) but I felt okay, I guess. Drank a little too much of that crappy box wine my friend left over, but God, anything tastes good after a long day, right? Oh, yeah, Election Day. So I just threw on some of my jammies (I think I had a wine stain on my Tweety Birds so I went with my Yosemite Sams) and trudged out into the day. I didn't shower, but what the fuck, right? It's just another election, no big deal. Hmm, I think I'll grab a scone.

Him: Just laced up a fresh pair of kicks I'd been saving for a special occasion, and thought, hell this seems as good a day as any. Nice fairly calm street. No public school kids in school, which was a nice reprieve from their daily nuisance. Are those birds I hear chirping? God, the sun just shined on my face. Man...I can't believe I'm saying this, but it feels good to be alive, you know? Life isn't perfect, but when you feel like some sort of change could be a brewin'... it feels great.

Her: Stopped for a scone and nice little mochachino. Ooo, forgot my wallet at home, but that cute guy I know at the cafe let it slide. God, my hair looked like shit. So embarassing. Still, I might have to swing by after. Nothing says happy day like a free fudge brownie. Oh, crap, I almost forgot. Gotta pick up my dry cleaning. Oh and vote. Definitely gotta vote.

Him: Nice older gentleman held the door open for me. Really nice little elementary school this is. I almost forget how nice people in my neighborhood can be. Just regular, good salt of the earth people. Can't help but be excited to see people so positive. Hmmm, those people in the corner look angry. Probably don't know how it works. Probably first timers. Maybe can't speak English too well. It's all good. They'll get the hang of it. Oh well, here it comes, I'm next, my name should be in the registered voter book cause I've voted more than once in the past few years, easy breezy...

Her: I overshot the parking spot by a few feet, but this asshole behind me is claiming he got there first. Fucking asshole. Fuck you man. No seriously, I got here first. What? No, I wasn't on my cell phone drinking a fucking coffee. I was on my Bluetooth carefully sipping a mochachino. Asshole. Whatever, I'll find another parking spot. Damn, I dunno if I'll have enough time to vote and get this packet I have to drop off at the office in time. I'm seriously considering the effort to find a parking spot in this neighborhood is just not worth it. Oh, there you go, there's a spot. Ooo cute guy walking his dog on his way to the booth. This voting thing could be very yummy. Shit, I think he saw my hair. Damn I almost forgot. Where is my makeup...I know I have a back up kit in the glove somewhere...

Him: You don't have my name are you sure? I've voted here numerous times. I mean-wait, excuse me miss, I just. Okay, this lady? Hi miss I- oh, you don't handle this? You want me to talk to that gentleman over there? Okay, no problem, thank you. Wait, you don't know what I'm talking about. You work here don't you? You're just here to watch? There are over 50 people here on this line behind me and none of you seem to be- No, I'm just curious that among this crack staff of 20 or so of you, you want all of us coming in to be dependent on that one woman over there that appears to be swamped? What are you guys actually here for? I'm not raising my voice. I'm being calm, cool collected. I'm calm, cool, collected. No worries, it's okay. Paper ballot? Okay. It's not like this shady corner and this disheveled looking envelope looks at all disconcerting. No, its okay, I don't have a problem. No, I'm not raising my voice. I'm calm. DON'T YOU SEE? I'M CALM, COOL, COLLECTED. I'M FUCKING CALM. DON'T TELL ME I'M NOT CALM. I'M FUCKING CALM...

Her: Wow, that lady at the counter was such a bitch. Rolling her eyes at me just cause I'm wearing my jammies. Whatever lady. I took a day off to do this shit. So sue me. Whatever. Okay, lines kinda long, but moving pretty fast. Crap, do I need ID or something? Shit, I knew I should have brought my wallet. (If I could find it) Whatever, it's cool beans. Aww, that little couple is taking their baby with them into the booth. So cute. Awww. Just adorable. And they have a little beagle with them. Just precious. Okay, I'm up. Wow, that was fast. And...

Him: MOTHERFUCKER. SERIOUSLY. MOTHERFUCKER. You have got to be fucking kidding me. The fate of my vote and the fates of all these voters waiting behind me lies on this shabby piece of paper?! Really? Shit looks thinner than a muthafucking Scantron. AND I have to fill out another form to confirm my address? How do I know this will even be fucking counted?! How will any of us know? They have FOUR FUCKING MACHINES. AND ONLY ONE OF THEM IS BEING USED. I'm not trying to sound like some cliched hard luck-"Oh whitey wins again" minority trying to pass the buck, but why is it that all the people cramped into this line on the paper ballot corner are college kids and brown folk, and the machines are only being operated by elderly white people. I'm not trying to point fingers or anything, but WHAT THE FUCK. Great, now I have to wait for the one woman attending to all 100+ of us, while the 19 other people stand around drinking coffee and shooting the shit. I have to fold this in half? Wait in thirds? Wait, if I don't fold the paper ballot correctly and place it in the envelope in exactly a certain way, they won't count it? WHAT THE FUCK.

Her: Hey, that was fast. And that cute Anderson Cooper-y looking guy over there was totally checking me out. Nice. That was sweet. Oh, and I got to vote for Propositon 8, so yay. That one's for you Marie and Lily. That felt kinda good.

Him: Unbelieveable. Unbefuckinglieveable. I just saw at least 20 people walk out because of how ridiculous this set up is. THERE AREN'T EVEN THAT MANY PEOPLE VOTING HERE. Less than 100. In this fairly medium sized gym. And no one knows what the fuck is going on.

"Oh hey, they got you too huh?"


"Me and Ronnie (motions towards an emaciated looking man) registered six months ago. Rock the Vote. Totally campaigned and did call ins and everything. And they don't have us on record. It's total crap."

"I hear you."

(Another gentleman nudges in) "Oh yeah? Well I've been voting here since 1980. I've lived in this neighborhood for over 35 years. I volunteered to help with elections in '92 and '96. And they don't have me on record! How ridiculous!"

(A lithe middle aged lady chimes in) "I've been a registered Democrat my whole life. Voted in every election I could since I could remember. And they don't have my name on record. This is a travesty!"

"Wait, I mean, I don't mean to get into your business, but are all you guys on line (the paper ballot line) registered Democrats?"

(Two shake their heads, a group of about thirty nod and say yes) "Whadaboutchu kid?"

"Me? I'm a freakin' Independent."

"Christ. This is bullshit, I'm leaving."

"Wait, you can't leave."

"How do you know it's even gonna count if we go through all this bullshit?"

"I don't."

"Exactly. Wasteamyfuckintime..."

(I go to an election volunteer enjoying her coffee.) "Excuse me miss, these people are leaving because of this set-up, isn't there something-"

"Look, I'm just here to watch and make sure nothing bad happens. Ain't my problem if people leave or whatever."


"Ain't my problem, sir."

Her: Stickers! Yay! I totally forgot you get "I Voted" stickers. Oh, there's a lady giving out free cookies by the exit? Oh my god, this is so sweet. And they're not those crappy school bake sale cookies. It's like fresh bakery baked cookies. Mmmmmm. YES. Wow, this was totally worth it.

Him: "Excuse me miss, do I at least get like some sort of voter confirmation. A sticker, a card, something to confirm that I voted?"

"You have your voter registration card in the mail."

"Yes, I know (I never received one last time), but I was told there would be stickers of some sort. You see there are these free voter promotional offers..."

"I'm sorry sir, but that's not my problem. We have nothing here. So have a good day."


"We have NOTHING. Okay? Now excuse me."


Her: Oh, and there's no traffic on the way to the office for once. Sweet. Now I'm gonna head back home and get my sleep on. Oh, wait, not before I swing back to that cafe. A free fudge brownie is a free fudge brownie.

Him: Fuck. No seriously. Fuck.

0 painful displays of affection:

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