My Civic Duty.

I think I may have had one of the worst sleeps last night. I was really stressed over my exam this morning, and equally as stressed over an essay that I did not anticipate losing much, if any sleep over. So when I lay down last night, I literally listened to J fall asleep, have a dream, toss and turn, before I actually thought, ok, I think I may fall asleep in an hour or so.. I feel it coming. Maybe. Which, a couple hours later, was true.

I was not to remain asleep and dreaming of the state of nature (I’m naked! And fighting for apples! Why am I wearing a top hat?) because our little war era walkup was about to be ripped off it’s unsteady foundations and thrown to frigging OZ. I’m not even lying. The window panes were sucking in and out, our radiators were rattling, and the wind, unhindered since departing Ontario, was blowing up an unholy prairie storm and threatening to unmoor our home and my sanity. So I decided, you know, if I’m going to have the roof ripped off our house, I might as well be showered and dressed, because really, I have to hand in that paper and take a midterm, and if the roof goes, at least I won’t have to blow-dry my hair. Really. I was standing in the shower thinking that.

Then I went to school.

Met J for a bit of lunch, and we headed over to vote.

Now, because J and I haven’t lived very long at our current address and I have yet to change my license (and J’s is technically for another city) we researched what exactly we’d have to do in order to obtain our voter registration slip at the polls . In effect, we had to go together, bring photo id and a utility bill in one of our names, then the one with the bill had to vouch for the other. I know it SOUNDS tedious, but it really isn’t. The system is, from my previous experience, fairly well organized and prompt.

This may have been, however, due to the relatively low age and high mental capacity of the officials last time. I’m fairly certain that they gather them from the surrounding areas, ask them to do their exemplary civic duty and give them, oh, I don’t know, a 5 minute tutorial that doesn’t involve a)the voting process b) how to read or c) manners. Because this is how our voting exchange went. (I will not discount the fact that I had had barely any sleep and may have been speaking Swahili. You know.)

A- Hi! We’re here to vote, but we don’t have registration cards because we recently moved, so we brought the id we need and need to register. *smile*

Old Crone – Do you have registration cards?

A – No…

Old Crone – Then you will need to register. Can I help the next person? Oh, you need to register too? Oh. Then I guess I’ll help you.

J-Thank you…. We both need to register for the same polling station, we live together.

Old Crone – Give me your id. (Looks at my id, holds it at arms length and squints) You have a lot of names. How am I supposed to know what the first one is.

A – It’s A****.

Old Crone- How am I supposed to know that.

A – Ok.. that’s ok. It’s hard.

Old Crone – So this is your address?

A – (Offers up utility bill) No, THIS is my address. Remember?

Old Crone – (Stares)

A- ……..#4 99999 99 Ave

Old Crone – Oh, ok, this is your address? It’s Edmonton.. right.. so I just write that in here.. uh.. ok.. So THIS (points to id) is your mailing address?

A- No.. I get my mail at my… address…

Old Crone -Oh. Riiiight.. uh.. well.. I guess.. I guess you can vote! Just ask those guys over there. Good bye.

(At this point J repeats the ENTIRE process with her, at which point she exclaims “Oh! I bet you guys have the same polling station your addresses are similar!”… To which J responds.. “Yes. We live together.” And she looks increasingly concerned and confused. I’m pretty sure we both could have voted numerous times. We didn’t, but we could have.)

So I move to the next table where the equally as decrepit old farts sitting there look at me like I may have some weird middle age (shudder.. youth…) disease. And I tell them:

A – Hi! I just registered to vote, and I need to know which of these booths I should vote at.

Old Crotchety Man – Give me your id.

A – Well, see, my id doesn’t actually have my address on it so I had to-

Old Crotchety Man -(Interrupting) Your id doesn’t have your address? Thats illegal.

A- Oh, no, I mean it has my address, it just isn’t the correct address-

Old Crotchety Man – (Interruping) That’s illegal too.

A- Ok. My address on my id is not the one that I live at. I need to know which poll to vote at.

Old Crotchety Man #2 – Give me your id and I’ll find out dear.

A- (Silence) Would you like my voter registration? It has my address on it.

Old Crotchety Man – (Whining) But then I can’t look at the map (Points across the gym) and find where you have to vote. I guess I’ll leave him your registration and look off your id.

A and Old Crotchety Man #2 – (Silence)

Old Crotchety Man #2 – I’ll go look dear. (Returns with both pieces of paper) Booth #33 dear.

A- Thank you.

J – Hi, I just registered to vote..

A – #33.

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1 Comment

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One response to “My Civic Duty.

  1. Ian

    I had mine in the basement of the little church across the street, and nearly exactly the same thing happened to me. The average volunteer age was 70 (I’d say 80 but there was one younger girl), and they all moved about as quickly as a snail with a hernia. Of course, my lineup was 3 times the size as anyone else’s, and that basement of the church holds maybe one choir group.

    In 100 years, when everyone’s telepathically surfing the wetweb and immersing themselves in virtual reality, voting will still be done in person with dodecagentarians as volunteers. It’ll prevent a Wall-E type future.

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