Wednesday, November 6, 2013

ONLY TO ME: Installment 1

ONLY TO ME: Installment 1

Out to Vote: Democracy knows when to look the other way

The voting room in the small Connecticut town I lived in was staffed by several elderly volunteers. Each one had apparently been assigned a specific responsibility. Seated behind folding tables, were five freshly permed grey-haired women, slow to move but very pleasant, me, and a determined silence. As the door behind me clicked closed and the noise echoed around the room every silver-coiffed head turned my way.  They weren’t in unison but they all did eventually lock on to their target, me. I was the center of attention. I didn’t like the feeling but voting is an important responsibility and one must suppress any raging paranoias and bask in the power that a single vote brings.

Temporarily frozen I was quick to comprehended the process; one so simplistic that any cow grazing the nearby fields could have easily navigated. I moved to my left where two of the women checked off town’s people from lists before them. One had A through L, the other M through Z according to street address. Once I had properly declared my identity, rubber-tipped fingers flipped pages back and forth, zeroing in on the correct sheet. I was not on the list. The rubbered fingers double-checked as a serious sort of fellow appeared as if from a secret door. He took in the bustle with eyebrows a flutter. Congenial confusion ensued, bemused ignorance on my part countered by a polite tolerance from the volunteers of yet another boob with no clue as to how these things were meant to go. The upshot was I had to see the Registrar of Voters upstairs.

The Registrar’s hair seemed freshly blackened or maybe reddened but lacked the fresh perm in vogue downstairs with the volunteers (see visual aid A).
Click on image for larger view
 She was slower to move and noticeably less pleasant but got right to the problem. I had moved within the town but had not alerted the office. She consulted an official looking book and with a wave of her hand and a quick "tell them downstairs you're OK" took care of things. Back in the voting room and once again the center of attention I humbly admitted to not remembering moving since the last presidential election. With good natured chuckles all around and ballot in hand I cast my vote and exited, confident that my participation in a free election was certain to make the world a better place.

It wasn't until I stood for a moment, just outside the entrance, radiant with the Democratic process and convinced that the approaching voters could sense the waves of liberty wafting their way, that I noticed my fly had been down the entire time.

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