This morning, being the good contributing citizen that I am, I voted in the New York Primary. It went a little something like this:
I walk into John Jay High School, bypassing the metal detectors and 4 police officers in order to go directly to the voting area. I tell the lady my address, and she directs me to my appropriate district booth in the auditorium. I walk up to my booth, where 4 individuals sit, one of whom is an elderly man. He looks at me and says, "Hello young lady, you're voting today as a Democrat?"
In the brief moment before I respond, several thoughts dart through my head:
1) Who are you callin 'young lady' Mister?? What am I, a 12 year old in a candy shop who you bend down to speak to and pinch her cheek as you hand her a lollipop?
2) Liz, get a grip, he's just a friendly old man, not some skeevebag or ageist or sexist. Chill.
3) Dude, isn't this a private matter anyway? What is this, 1872 and I'll be led away to the gallows if I tell the truth and say I'm a *gasp* Republican?
4) Do I have to answer? Isn't it already written there on that little piece of paper by my name? Why do I have to announce to all these people my political leanings? You are strangers to me!!! I want my daaaaadddy!!!
Instead, I respond, politely and with a smile, "No, actually, I'm registered here as a Republican." (You know, at least leave the door open in my tone and word choice for the possibility that I could vote for a Democrat, I'm just registered as a Republican, so, for this whole primary thing.... you know how it is)
Their response........ *silence* *confused looks*
I can only imagine what went through THEIR heads as they sized me up. Me and my herringbone jacket and computer bag with an advertisement for Flomax on the side. Yea. Judge away.
The old man quickly composes himself and picks his jaw up off the floor. Then he looks at the machine and tries to figure out how the lever is moved from the D to the R. He can't figure it out. You want to know why? Because no Republicans had voted at their booth. At all. None. Zilch. So he had never had to figure out how the lever worked to switch the machine over. Oh, and it's not like they would TEACH you that when you sign up to be a polling boother person, would they? They just make all the machines point to D and figure that's all the dudes need to know. Clearly.
After all 4 of the people at the table give it a try, they finally figure it out and I am able to vote. I walk into the booth and see 13 columns of options/issues/elections for Democrats. And off to the right a little tiny single column for the Republican Presidential Primary. Nothing else. I wish I had had my camera. Or maybe that's illegal.
But in any event, as I am standing there trying to make sure I'm not missing anything, they didn't hide something in an obscure place(they do that, you know), trying to make sure that the lever I'm pushing aligns with the candidate I'm choosing (come on now, it's still novel for me, this is an intense deal), I hear the people outside the booth (come on people, this is an OPEN AIR booth and there is just a little curtain between me and you- I CAN HEAR YOU) talking about... what else? The Republican (me) inside the booth. I hear the elderly man say, "There have been ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN people here today and she's the FIRST Republican." Chuckle chuckle chuckle. Yeah, I hope you're all still laughing when Hellary takes over and socializes our country. Sorry, I couldn't resist. But this is pretty funny.
I cast my vote, pull the lever, the curtain opens, and I depart. While everyone stares.
Just another day in the life.