Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Today Is the Day I Could've Called the Wily Republican Up and Said, "SUCK ON THAT, WILY!" but I Didn't Because I Am Classier Than That

Yesterday was my first opportunity to vote in person at an actual polling place. The whole experience was way different than filling out an absentee ballot and sending it off to some nebulous building in some nebulous location where it would be counted in some nebulous way.

When you vote in person, there are booths with festive red, white, and blue curtains that zip up behind you so you can vote in private. There are machines with greedy mouths that take in all the ballots and count them, lock them inside so no one can mess with them when you're done. There are lesbians stationed near the door to ask if you would like to sign a petition in favor of gay marriage. There are Mainers who walk by them and grumble, I will never sign that!, which makes you stop--you would've stopped anyway--and say in a very loud voice, "WHERE DO I SIGN?"

This is all very different than filling out your absentee ballot while your roommate sizzles chicken fried steak on the stove. This is very different than realizing with a certain amount of guilt that, on another day, you and your roommate have accidentally tried out your new Hello Kitty stamp on the outside of your ballot, which you both mistook to be scrap paper. This is very different than wondering if your ballot will be counted or if it has somehow been made ineligible by the happy kitten waving her paw at the person who opens the envelope.

But now election season and all its hype is over. Now I won't have to live with the fear that another candidate is going to show up at my door when I am just coming out of the shower.

It feels good to be on the other side of this. It feels good in general. Last night and this morning made me feel like I feel when I listen to Rosalita, and when I listen to "Rosalita," I feel precisely like this: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Of course, not everyone can feel like they've just discovered one of the local stations is playing their favorite Bruce Springsteen tune. For example, my most beloved students of all time--my engineering students from the big Buffalo university--are not pleased today, and a lot of them are expressing their irritation via chirpy little status messages on Facebook. You're going to be sorry, America, one says. Another says, Bad choice! Bad choice! Bad choice! Another, from one of my students who was born in Canada: Sucks to be you guys. At least I can choose where I live and work.

For some reason, the response this inspires in me is as follows: I want to bake them cookies. A lot of cookies. And I want them to come over and sit at my kitchen table and dunk those cookies in milk and eat until they are so full they want to throw up chocolate chips and walnuts. This is what I wanted to do, what I wished someone would do for me the morning after the last two elections. It would've taken the sting away just a little bit.

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