Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A Polling Place Story

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. Placerville, CA. Polling place #320:

I walk in the conference room where polling is taking place for the mid-terms. Directly in front of me is a long table with a woman sitting behind it helping a man in a wheelchair. Another table is situated to the left of her, angling at about 45° with two more woman sitting attentively. A sign reading "A" is hanging off the front of it. Yet another table, to the left of the "A" table, is to its left again. Two more people are at that one, a woman on the left and a young man to her left. This woman greets me ...

"Hello! Can I help you?" she asks me.

"Hello yourself! Yes ... I'm here to vote" I tell her.

"I notice you have a mail-in ballot" she observes.

"I do! I have a question about that afterward. Now, I see an 'A' and a 'B' table but I don't see any 'N' table for me so ... where do I go?" I ask. Out of the corner of my eye I notice the woman at Table "A" shaking her head back and forth at my conversation in an "Oh, brother ... one of them" sort of ways. I turn to look at her and she quickly looks down at her charts, half concealing a sneer.

"Start at that first table when you walked in. That lady will get you on your way" the woman at Table "B" informs me cheerfully.

"Thank you" I respond and wait for the woman working with the handicapped gentleman finish.

In moments, she gets me checked in and directs me to Table "B." I walk past Table "A" and the sneering woman and look at her once again, but she still has her head down and won't look at me to save her life. I guess I'm just too much of a ball of fire for her to pay me any mind. Again I approach Table "B" and speak with the personable woman who first greeted me. She repeats my name - as she heard it when I checked in - finds my name, flips her chart around and asks me to sign beside my name. She hands me my ballot.

"Here you go. Behind you is seating so you can vote. Now ... you had a question about the mail-in ballot you brought with you?"

"Thank you ... and yes, I do. Can I drop this off here?"

"Yes. It's signed by the addressee, dated and you've signed it as well?"

"Yes ma'am to all three" I inform her.

"That box, right over there beside the ballot box ... that's where you deposit it" I'm told.

"Terrific!" I walk over, drop the mail-in ballot in its box and go vote.

I'm done in 30 seconds, get up from my seat and hold up my ballot. "This receptacle here?" I ask before depositing my completed ballot.

"Wow!" Table "B" woman exclaims "That was fast!"

"I don't fool around" I tell her. "This isn't my first rodeo, you know ..." She smiles at me. I snag my complimentary "I Voted!" sticker and waved as I strolled my way to the exit: "Have a good rest of a voting afternoon!"

As I walk out, I turn directly at The Sneering Woman at Table "A" one last time, ready to flash her a "I don't know what your problem is, lady, but you volunteered to perform with this circus and the adoring public who come knocking at its door so you better suck it up and work it until the very end" look but, once more, she's looking at her charts, doing everything in her power to avoid me. I almost stopped to ask her an annoying question or two but my mere presence appeared to have already accomplished that. I didn't need to do anything further.

I had to wonder, though: Why the hell was the woman working a polling station knowing she's going to get all kinds of personalities walking through the door if she's not ready to take on all comers? It's not as if I was a pain in the ass or anything. The last few years I've volunteered myself to work the elections and I well knew I needed to pull up my suspenders, make certain my underwear were straight and secure and put on a happy face.

I'll never know the answer to what her problem was. And I'm okay with that ...

.......... Ruprecht ( STOP )

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