Today we exercised our right to vote. Which also meant we exercised our right to stand in line three and a half hours at a polling place that only had one working voting machine for much of that time. And our right to deal with an increasingly cranky baby who was awakened after finally going to sleep by an old woman who felt the need to peel out of the parking lot for no good reason in her pickup, the dashboard of which she could hardly see over as she careened away. And our right to make friends with the people ahead of and behind us, even as we wished the people just ahead of them would stop smoking and the people just behind them would turn down their iPhone that was apparently playing some high school talent show involving music by the Backstreet Boys sung as loudly and as badly as possible. And our right to get progressively colder outside as the morning progressed and to swelter inside the polling place, the multipurpose building at our neighborhood park. You get the idea.
We went as a family, trundling Baby J along in his stroller and then strolling him endlessly in place and around the neighborhood as time passed ever soooo slowly. Eventually, I sent the husband and J home for drinks, Ibuprofen, and a camp stool. The walk there resulted in the long delayed nap, but that was spoiled by the insane woman in the truck. Even so, J was a trooper for most of the morning, only really starting to melt down as we headed into hour four and were actually inside but still far away from voting because of triple lines snaking around a very small space. When we finally did reach the head of the line, just as I was about to step forward to vote, another old woman in a wheelchair was wheeled in front of me by her anxious son. At that point, of course, what was one more delay in the name of helping the elderly and the disabled? Sadly, J didn't see it that way. He'd been excited about the prospect of seeing something new (the ballot machine) and then was very upset when we STILL weren't on our way there.
We did get to vote, finally, and I tried not be concerned about our paperless machines. And it wasn't an awful time, even given all of the above. The line was very friendly, with people sharing pages explaining the amendments we were to vote on and a random woman showing up with coffee and candy (the husband says she has to be the wife of a candidate because otherwise "no one does that"). Everyone was very understanding about Baby J, even in the close quarters of the polling place where he was showing off his least socially desirable behavior.
Huzzah! Democracy in action! On to waiting anxiously for the results!