Thanks to jet lag, I awoke at 6am today. So what the hell - I got up, got ready for work, and walked to my polling place at Gardner Elementary School in Hollywood. I'm not a morning person, so I've always voted after work. But today, with an historic, exciting election in the offing, plus jet lag from my trip to Europe, I broke with precedent and actually GOT IN LINE to vote.
I've never had to wait more than two minutes to vote. But today, with a possible victory for a Hawaiian-born black man, I had to wait a whole 30 minutes. It was worth every second.
I love voting on Election Day. I'm all for early voting, absentee voting, or voting by telepathy if that were possible. Anything that makes voting easy and available to all is fabulous. But for myself I love doing it on the official day, stepping up to that rickety little voting "booth" (really more of plastic mini-cubicle at my polling place) and using that short squat inky pen-thingie to mark my choices. Folks around me in the other wobbly cubicles were taking their time marking up their ballots.
I trucked through - click click click, and looked up, blinking. Was I really done? I made way for the next voter and handed my ballot to the wild-haired elderly Russian-American man waiting for me next to the crouched machine that ate it up and belched somehow to show him all was well. He handed me my "I Voted" sticker and a felt a swell of silly pride - in myself, and justified pride - in my country, where power changes hands peacefully at the command of the people.
Voting rocks. It's like telling, for a brief moment, the story of our country, the narrative of your state, the tale of your city.