Piddling Little Details
On Tuesday I made my usual journey to my polling place. Actually, that's a bit of a stretch. The word journey gives the mistaken impression that for me it was an arduous trip. A travail slogging through sleet and snow . . . uphill both ways. Uh, no.
This is my fifth different polling place since we moved out here. They've always been in reasonably convenient locations, which is quite an accomplishment considering the rural area this used to be. But as it began to grow and the Community Center (four miles away) was no longer able to handle the volume, my next polling place was a church (about two miles in another direction) across the road from the hole-in-the-wall convenience store that NEVER closes. Then came the fire station (four miles) followed by another church (between the fire station and here) about a mile away.
Having to go to the fire station followed by the mile-away church did bug me but for a very simple reason. At the same time they became polling places, so did the church right next to me except, I couldn't vote there. Wrong precinct.
(Herself and her family lived in that precinct, although they were within walking distance of the four-mile-away-from-me fire station . . . which was mine.)
Just before the 2004 election my precinct was changed once again but since then, all I have to do is walk out my front gate, hang a right, and then stroll down the church's walkway to vote.
I pull my driver's license out of my jeans back pocket and hand it to the person checking me in to verifying my identity before I'm given my ballot. And looking at it, they always ask me where I live, I guess as a test to see if I'm really AM the person pictured on my license because if I am, I should be able to give them my address without hesitation. And I always do.
"I live over there," I reply pointing through the window.
The poll worker does a double take looking again at the address on my license. Everybody laughs. They've done the job they are required to perform, give me my ballot and I vote.
I've gotten pretty good at knowing the best time to vote so that I seldom have to wait. Surprisingly, this time I did. Not long but after so many developments have been built, the church is now the polling place for two precincts, and neither of the two people ahead of me at the A-G desk were registered to vote in mine.
The gentleman said he didn't know what precinct he lived in and might have gotten on the wrong line. And no, he didn't have his voter registration card with him that would have told him or let them tell him. He was pointed to the Help Desk and within a minute or so they told him he should have gotten on line on the other side of the low-slung, white plastic chain being used to divide one precinct's voting area from the other. With theatrical steps that would have brought a standing ovation on Broadway, he stepped over the low-slung, white plastic chain being used to divide one precinct's voting area from the other, turned toward the Help Desk and bowed deeply, then turned again to present his identification at that A - G desk, got his ballot and was already voting while I waited for the woman ahead of me at mine to finish running her mouth.
She wasn't sure which precinct she should be voting in. What did it matter? She was here to vote and this was her polling place. No, she didn't have her voter's registration card with her. And no, she didn't want to go to the Help Desk! She shouldn't have to! They should be able to tell her at this desk because she's a busy person and doesn't have time to wait. Why couldn't she just vote at this one? And then glancing at her wristwatch she stormed out, while loudly announcing for the benefit (???) of everyone that she might try to come back later.
She seemed offended that not everything was waiting for her and her alone, or everyone willing and ready to wait on her. This unjust burden was something she should not have to bear.
I'd give odds that she lives in one of those new "Affordable Starting at the LOW $500's," cookie- cutter houses the developers have been stamping out thirty-feet away from the next one, on the swamp land they've been backfilling with endless tons of sand so that what they're selling doesn't sink. (Right away.)
No one in those deed-restricted communities has to bother themselves with making any decisions on their own. The association tells them what color the exterior of their house must be and exactly how and to what height their lawns must be cut. (They measure it with a ruler. And no, I'm not joking.) One even limits interior decor of homes within it to a certain themes chosen by the community's designer.
These people pay big bucks for the privilege of abandoning any responsibility whatsoever, for decisions they could and should be making for themselves, preferring not to be burdened with piddling little details. It's more, I guess, than they can bear.
Piddling little details, like making a fifteen-foot trip to the Help Desk to find out what precinct you should be casting your vote in.