When Emily Dickinson died, her sister found hundreds of poems in her room. When JRR Tolkein died, his son published the Unfinished Tales. When i die, there will be drafts of half-written blog posts queued up in my post list.
It's hard to write a story to completion these days. Someone mentioned National Novel Writing Month and i thought, "Man, a whole novel! I can't even write a whole blog post!" So under the inspiration of NaNoWriMo, I'm attempting to publish several of my half-written stories. This means that the first 75% will be well-written, but the last 25% will be mediocre. The conclusion of a story is the most important part, but most of the time i can't remember where i was going with some of these posts. We'll start with one a little more recent: Tuesday, November 6. Also known as Election Day.
On Monday morning I was laying on the couch surrounded by crumped tissues, cough drops, and peppermint tea when the doorbell rang. I was reluctant to answer the door due to my extremely haggard and dishevelled appearance. However, Bright Eyes had just fallen asleep and i was not interested in hearing the doorbell ring a second time.
A very nice looking woman in a cute green scarf introduced herself. She was a representative of my policital party who had come to remind me to vote. Vote, oh my gosh! I had totally forgotten!
She looked at me like an alien from another galaxy. We live in a swing state. It is not possible to forget the election, even if you wanted to. This election is so ever-present that is makes even young children cry.
It wasn't that i had forgotten that there is an election. I had not forgotten that Tuesday was voting day. I just didn't realize that Tuesday was taking place TOMORROW. My life was a blur of countless days of fevers, coughing, sneezing and runny noses. During the nights i collapsed into bed for a few minutes of tossing, turning, coughing and sinus pressure before having to get back up to intervene with either a sick\crying girl or a hungry\crying baby.
If the green scarf lady had not come, it is very likely i would not have voted. And for once my vote might actually count! In the Big City, my vote never mattered. I diligently voted anyway, but nobody i voted for ever won.
When Tuesday, which was tomorrow, arrived i stubbornly got all of our cranky, snot-nosed selves ready go vote. I told the BabyGirl how wonderful voting is and that many people in the world are not able to vote and we're so excited to go vote.
She of course had no idea what voting is, but i made it sound like a lot of fun so she was willing to give it a shot.
It was cold. It was raining. We drove to the polling place and started the Unloading Sequence: remove Bright Eyes from carseat, insert Bright Eyes into baby wearing apparatus, release BabyGirl from carseat, wait TEN YEARS for her to climb out of the car, shut the door, "hold my hand," "No! Want to walk MYSELF!" "We are in a parking lot and you must hold my hand," "Fine," look left then right then left again, okay safe to cross.
We marched up to the nice old lady at the table and proudly presented my license. She looked through the book. She looked through the book again. She couldn't find me.
I am a registered voter. I have voted at that location before. It is the location printed on my voter registration card. She said they were the location for such-and-such street through 22nd street. I live on 22nd street.
She looked again, i was not in there.
Meanwhile the other white-haired ladies working the election were talking amongst themselves about the BabyGirl's beautiful auburn hair.
She asked, "Do you live on the east side of 22nd?"
Yes i do.
"Ooooohhhh. Well in that case you don't vote here."
I looked at her with the defeat. Does she know how difficult it is to do to the Unloading Sequence in the cold rain? Is she really cold-hearted enough to make me put these younglings back in the car and go somewhere else to do it all over again? She looked at me with apathy. The other ladies, however, mumbled "What a shame! You have little ones!" One of them even offered to babysit while i ran over to the other place real quick. I almost took her up on it, except there must be a clause somewhere in the Election Official job description about not chasing 2-year-olds around the voting area while working.
We turned around to leave, and on the way out the door the BabyGirl spotted a voter holding a cute baby boy. "Baby!!! There's a baby, mama!"
There was an elderly man with a walker waiting at the door for his ride to pick him up. He struck up a one-sided conversation with the BabyGirl. How old are you? You sure are cute. Oh look, you are a big sister! I bet you are a big help to your mama, aren't you?
She just looked at him with big eyes until we were halfway across the parking lot. Then she stopped in her tracks to turn around and yell back, "Hi man! I'm two and a half! We're voting! See you later!"
By this time the lady with the baby had finished voting and was putting him in the car. The BabyGirl yelled to him too, "Bye bye, Baby!!! Bye! BYYYYEEEE!"
Then, while standing in the cold rain, i put The Girl Who Hates Her Carseat into the car and listened to her crying while i strapped in The Girl Who Moves Slower Than Molasses.
We went to voting location #2 and did the Unloading Sequence all over again. The white-haired ladies at this poll loved us too. They gave the BabyGirl an "I voted" sticker. Then they gave one to me, which i handed to her. She told the ladies, "Wait! My Daddy needs a sticker! I need another sticker for my Daddy!"
When i completed my ballot, i got up to take it across the room to the ballot-eating machine. All of a sudden, the BabyGirl wasn't with me anymore. She had wedged herself into the six inch space between two voting booths in order to invade the personal space of a little boy who was there with his grandmother. She is so exuberant about other kids right now, but unforunately it is a little overwhelming for the poor soul that she latches onto. She was trying to strike up a conversation and the little boy was doing his best to avoid eye contact.
I hauled her out the door and we triumphantly headed home. We voted! Going to the polls is half of the fun. The other half is camping out in front of the tv to watch the results come in. Ordinarily we would not be afforded this pleasure; we would have to keep checking the internet to find out how it was going. But thanks to Audrey's digital converter box and The Judge's outdoor antenna, we are people who watch tv! So exciting. We are not even politically inclined, but we had a good time. Except it was kind of anti-climatic that at the point when i had to leave to do Bright Eyes' dreamfeed, there were several states that were "too close to call." And when i got done with the dreamfeed, Obama had won. I thought it was going to drag on through half the night, but then all of a sudden it was over.
It's crazy to think that at the next Presidential election, I won't have to bring the BabyGirl with me to vote because she'll be in first grade!