Today, I voted. (#61)
This is not a post about who I voted for. Why would you care who I voted for?!? No, this is a post about the things that happen to me when I leave the house.
Let it be known that I LOVE to fulfill my civic duty. I define "doing my civic duty" not only by reporting to jury duty (which I have never had the pleasure of being called upon to do) or voting, but also acting as a courteous and conscientious citizen. Obviously I don't love to have to do my civil duty in the case of car accidents or to report crimes. But believe you me, if I see something, I say something. On one glorious occasion I reported a breaking and entering in progress, and the police were able to catch and arrest the person. I hold doors, pick up lost items, give directions, and say my please and thank yous. Most are small things, and most do not require a lot of effort on my part. The simple point I am trying to make is that I go out of my way to be helpful because it makes me feel good.
I was so excited to vote today! A chance to fulfill my civic duty!
Prior to leaving the house I double checked our polling location (and how to get there) with my husband. Having already completed his civic duty he reported, "...not crowded, district two, you can go in the back way." Sounded easy enough.
As I pulled up to the parking lot I noticed a police officer, who I assumed was directing traffic, standing near a large "Do Not Enter" sign. Keep in mind Dingle had just told me that he had gone in this way. As I started to make the left into the parking lot the officer began to wave his hands furiously and shout. I stopped the car immediately and pulled my hands off the wheel to demonstrate that I was heeding his "directions". Problem was, I had already committed to making the turn and was sort of stuck in the "exit" of the parking lot. I made a circular motion with my hand to indicate that I was going to pull a wide u-turn. Before I had rolled two inches the officer charged at the car like a deranged rhinoceros and demanded that I roll down the window, which I did immediately.
He was screaming. SCREAMING. "YOU. CAN. NOT. ENTER. THIS. WAY!!"
I answered in a clearly apologetic tone, "I understand that Sir. I don't really have an option other than to pull a u-turn."
More screaming, "YOU DON'T HAVE AN OPTION BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T READ THE SIGN."
More apologizing as he stepped away from the car.
More screaming, "I SHOULD GIVE YOU A TICKET!!"
He succeeded in making me feel about two inches tall. I had read the sign, I just made the wrong assumption. I seriously could have cried. I hate being scolded. NEVER in a million lifetimes would I have gone that way had I known. I was not being careless, disrespectful, or running around in reckless abandon of the law. If I hadn't really wanted to vote, I would have gone home with my tail between my legs.
In any case I took a deep breath, drove around to the entrance, and parked the car. I suspect the officer was giving me the stink eye because he was still shaking his head as I walked across the parking lot. I don't know how he even saw me, didn't I mention I was two inches tall.
Once inside the polling station I made my way to the table, received my ballot, and waited for an open booth. There was one booth open, but it was designated handicap, so I decided to wait. To the best of my knowledge I was not obstructing anyone's path, violating anyone's privacy, or giving off the impression that I was put out by waiting. Suddenly the woman at the registration table said (in not quite a yell but not quietly either), "What are you waiting for, there is an open booth right there." I realized she was pointing at the handicap booth and rather than explain myself I slunk over, crouched down, and cast my vote.
When I was finished there was some more confusion/scolding about checking out versus when to put my ballot in the machine. SIGH.
It wasn't the fun I had been looking forward to. The wind had officially been knocked out of my sails.
On my way home I stopped for a man and his young son who were waiting patiently to cross the busy street. Civic duty done.