(totally more than 3 hours from that point)
So, I elected to spend my Sunday sans food (but for a few altoids I had in my purse), sans water (but for the kind fellow Americans who returned after voting to bring water bottles), and sans bathroom break (there was a port-o-potty but I was told it was truly awful inside) waiting in a line to VOTE.
The LA times has it wrong, today, with its “up to” 4 hours.
I wish it were only 4 hours. At 4 hours, I still couldn’t see the front of the line. When I asked my new favorite people to hold my place in line to go see for myself where it ended, I almost lost hope and left. But then I thought about those new favorite people who were right next to me in line and I couldn’t… I was the predictable PolyAnna, the “Oh, I waited in a line this long for Star Wars!”and “We’re moving faster, now!” and “We GOT this, people!”
What would they do without my stupid optimism? What if they decided to leave, too? Nah… I’d tough it out. Couldn’t be more than another hour, right?
The line to the front was only where you put in part of your paperwork. Then there was the sitting (thank God!) underneath the make-shift tent (like a revival!) waiting for your number.
What we would have given for a taco truck. An ice cream truck showed up, and I had no cash so my line buddy handed me a 5, insisting I take it, but then when I saw the line for the ice cream truck, I was like —I just can’t… wait… in another line right now. ( I would have done it for tacos.)
I was there the moment when someone yelled at woman yelling the numbers “Speak up!” and the crowd then started yelling the numbers back so all could hear. So she would say “5240” and the crowd would yell back “5240”. I don’t know who started doing it, but once it started, it just became what happened. For all the rest of the hours. It had a religious feel, almost. Ditto people starting the cheer for people they knew from the time in line getting their numbers called. There were the funny moments, when a person’s number was called them yelling “Bingo!”or “I’ve been saved!” And plenty plenty plenty of just freaking BORED.
But best of all was that feeling about 30 minutes before my number was called. It was like I was about to win something… maybe it was lack of food, water, bathroom breaks, etc. but I felt so excited. When I actually got my ballot, I could have cried. And after it was all over, I actually felt like I had won something.
I could write an essay about each of the people I met and just how truly wonderful it was to get to spend this time with them, and this would be a much more interesting blog post if I did (because they were all such awesome people), but I feel this sense of sacred-ness about them. Like we all went through this thing together, this fight against inefficacy and apathy that demanded this unbelievable commitment we made every minute we stayed.
So instead of saying the specifics about my best friend line buddies, I will just say that from what I hear from others, my experience is not unique. There is no substitute for showing and being with people. So, I leave you with this: if this election cycle has made you sick, getting stuck in a long line to vote is the best medicine out there.
I don’t wish it on you, but I do wish you a restored faith in people that only comes from actually talking to them.
(And while you are all still voting, I will be at a happy hour eating tacos.)
Namastaco and Happy Democracy Day!