Well thank God for eighteen year-old girls and their grandmas, and also for a few creepy dudes in their late forties wearing suits like it’s sixty years ago, because without them I don’t know who would run the voting stations.
That’s the first person to patiently deal with me today, a child who I think must have been eighteen in order to volunteer, but who really, really didn’t look it, who had to explain to me that I was standing in the wrong building.
They pulled the old switcharoo on me, sent me to a slightly closer polling station and I thought maybe I should go all Tim Robbins on them, but instead I just thanked the little girl and her grandma and skedaddled.
The correct place for me to be standing if I wanted to vote was in the rec center behind my daughter’s school, and there was no way I was going over there at three o’clock, so I put my ID in my shirt pocket instead of my wallet, and drove home, thinking when the Wife gets out of class, we’ll both go over. Then I took that shirt off and sat around in an undershirt for an hour, and then the Wife got home, and then I put a coat on over my tee shirt and went to the rec center.
Outside the rec center was a lady at a card table with a big sign which read, “STOP MANDATORY HEALTH CARE!”
The Wife started to head over there to flip the table over and knock her teeth out for her, but I convinced her that was exactly what the lady wanted. So instead the Wife shouted at her, “Aren’t you too close to the polls to be doing that?”
The woman had a smug, nasal voice like a kid who has a popsicle and you can’t have one. She looked triumphantly confident as she called out, “Nope, I’m five feet farther away than I need to be.”
Kick ass, nutty.
So we went inside, and then I was the guy at the polling station who doesn’t have his driver license because I’d left it in my other shirt. I was kind of dimly aware that for some reason, we’re not supposed to have to show ID at the polling station, in case we’re homeless or crazy or something. Homeless and crazy people get to vote.
But I didn’t really have it in me. It struck me as pretty obvious that I should have to prove who I am so that they could make sure I wasn’t voting over and over again in hilarious disguises. In fact, if they just handed me a ballot and told me to rock on just because I said my name out loud, I think that would have freaked me out.
The Wife was there however, and the Wife doesn’t give a shit about ID. I spent a few minutes listening to the Wife wring out the exact criteria that my proof of identity needed to meet, and it wasn’t much. Anything with my name and address on it – ANYTHING, they said.
No, there was nothing in my wallet which met that criteria. The grandmother we were talking to was kind of frazzled and seemed concerned that I was about to go ballistic. I have this Angry Face that I don’t know I’m wearing, I think it’s some kind of defense mechanism. I walk around in my Angry Face and people tend to leave me alone.
When I’m really Angry, I use the Angry Voice – that’s how you can really tell. The Angry Voice sounds like I’m addressing about three hundred Spartans and if you’re close enough to me, it moves your hair around.
Anyway, then the creepy dude came over to preemptively calm me down, except I wasn’t going to cause a scene and didn’t need to calm down. He asked what the problem was and I told him I forgot my ID.
“Oh, nooooooo,” he said, drawing it out like a moo. Really creepy, the way it seemed to actually make him sad.
I said, “I’ll just go home and get it. I know better than that. No problem.”
That startled him; he said, “Oh!”
Yes. Back home, retrieve ID, back to polling station, hello Nutty Woman Who Doesn’t Understand That She’s Being Really Obnoxious. Hello nice gramma and creepy dude.
The third time is a charm. Another teenage girl logs me on to an electronic voting machine, and then I vote and it feels like I’m looking up produce on the cashier robot at Giant Eagle.
Back outside, we flip off the nut with the political sign right outside the polling station – we have the right to do that, too, whether we’re five feet away or not.
And that’s it. A pretty angry election cycle full of insults and screams, and at the end of it, a perfectly fair and civil voting experience, something to actually step back and be proud of.
We’re a country brimming with as much hostility as an average game of Halo and it’s a really dark time, but man I love to vote. God bless America, everybody, and no, I’m not joking.