I voted yesterday. I brought Em with me and we voted together. I thought we’d turn it into “A Thing”. I’d teach him what it means to vote; take him into the booth with me; introduce him to democracy. We’d share an American moment—mother and son.
So we set off at 8:15 AM. But I quickly realized that I had no idea where I was going! (It’s true what they say, by the way. Each pregnancy makes you dumber. I’m amazed that women with multiple children aren’t walking about the place, flinging poo, clapping for shiny objects and laughing at bare walls.)
I called Toby (aka my brain). He isn’t yet stupid from having a second child. He informed me that we failed to update our address. So our polling place was actually a mile or so away.
It was a brisk morning, a scant 38 degrees. And I could have driven but I needed the walk. I mean, I really, really needed the walk. I need about 100 walks. You see, on Monday I had a check-up. I hadn’t been to the doctor in over six weeks. And even my doctor raised an eyebrow whenever she saw the scale. My doctor is a friend of mine. She’s seen me through some of the best times of my life and some of the worst. She’s pretty forthcoming with me at this point. And I’m pretty OK with that.
So I got a (albeit sweet) lecture. Things like, “You should start going on more family walks!” and “How about visiting the gym?” Or (my personal favorite) “You should probably lay off the pastries!”
I’ve put on a lot of weight. Too much. My body is failing and I’m only a little over 25 weeks along. I have trouble walking up stairs. My knees ache. My hips hurt. I’ve got those little purple veins. (Varicose? Or are they different? I’ve been told they’re different from the ones on the inside of my right knee. Either way, they’re ugly.) On Sundays, after standing for 8 hours at school, I feel completely blasted. I remember feeling this way with Em, but it didn’t happen until I was 36 weeks along. I have 10 more weeks before I get to that point! That’s insane.
But I digress.
We walked. I pushed the stroller. I even took the long way to get there, the scenic route through Greenpoint. It was a lovely morning overall. I’m not complaining. Em and I discussed what it means to vote. And I promised him that after we were done, we’d get hot cocoa and hit the playground.
“What’s hot cocoa?”
“Hot cocoa is awesome.”
“I want awesome hot cocoa.”
We arrived a little after 9 AM. There was no line, but the place was full. I was a little surprised at how smoothly it went for me get signed in especially considering I no longer lived at the address listed. But it worked out well.
Some of the volunteer ladies cooed over Em asking if he was there to vote and who he might be voting for. He just nodded a lot, unsure of why we were spending our morning in an elementary school basement.
I tried to keep him apprise of everything we were doing, but it’s hard doing several things at once when you’re getting dumber.
Whenever it came my time to vote, I brought him up to the booth with me.
“See these bubbles?” I asked him. “I fill them in next to the person I want to vote for. And that’s it!”
He nodded from underneath his winter hat.
I filled out my ballot and then flipped it over to vote on proposals.
“These are proposals.” I said. “I’m not voting for people here. I’m voting for ideas or laws.”
He nodded from underneath his winter hat.
“Ok, I”m finished!” I said. “Now we have to go over here and feed it into a machine.”
A volunteer welcomed me up to the feeder that would accept my ballot. “Do you want to help, Em? It’s just like our shredder at home, only this won’t shred the paper—at least I hope it doesn’t shred it!”
“Yes, that would be a very, very bad thing.” Said the volunteer. “We don’t want to shred your votes.”
Em helped me feed the ballot into the machine. We thanked the volunteer and moved along.
“Did you have fun?” I asked him as we were exiting the school basement.
“Not really. It was kind of boring.”
I laughed. “I guess it is a little boring.”
“But hot cocoa isn’t boring. It’s awesome.” He said.
“That’s true, little man. That’s very true.”
Title comes from a quote by Tom Stoppard. “It’s not the voting that’s democracy; it’s the counting.”