Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wherein Voting Nearly Kills Me

long post ahead, most of it not involving politics, some medical procedures are obliquely referred to, lost objects are detailed.
Read at your own risk.

Someplace between Sunday and Monday, I lost my phone. Sometimes I don't mind losing my phone, I even consider it a minor act of rebellion.

On the way home from work I had to stop by the store to pick up a few essentials for dinner. I was already pushing it for an on time arrival at home. I finished my rapid shopping and checked out (10 minutes total!) and hopped back into the car. My car key.

My car key was not on my key chain. All the other keys were in their respective places but the one key I needed was not there. I searched the slush and mud puddles on the wet asphalt, knowing that my small black and silver key would just jump out at me from all the white and black 'weather' on the ground. I scanned the floors of the grocery store. I retraced my steps through produce, checking in between the bins and then in the middle of the gourmet cheeses (I bought brie, OK?) It was then that I knew I had to call my husband. Only I didn't have a cell phone, so I had to make like I was thirteen again and ask to use the cashier's phone. Ugh. I don't like calling him when things like this happen because he invariably thinks I'm just being a space cadet.

"Well, did you look for it?"
"Of course I looked for it."
"But did you really check? Did you retrace your steps?"
"Uhm, yes, I really did check; it's gone."
"Did you look in the store?"


Why is it that even though he can't find the can of beans in front of him in the pantry, the juice in the fridge, a child's socks on top of their clothes, or his shoes when they are in front of his face, yet he thinks he'd be all superior at finding a tiny black and silver key in 6 inches of slush in the dark of evening?

"Look, I'm going to walk around the store and maybe I know someone and maybe they can give me a ride home, OK?"
"Alright. In the meanwhile, here's what you're going to do: You're going to look all over the store and and really check this time."


I didn't know anyone at the store that night, so I had to pretend I was thirteen (again) and calling home to find out if my mom could come pick me up from the waterpark. Other Half bundled up the kids and met me at the store. He then asked me 20 questions about the lost key, trying to figure out someway to make it my fault that the key got off the key chain (he'd make an excellent attorney.) I decided not to press the issue with him--sometimes it's hard to make him understand that things just happen, it really doesn't have to be someone's fault, and that the key really is gone.

(Plus, let's be honest, if my car gets stolen, I wouldn't care one bit.)


The next morning my doctors said they could fit me in for a procedure I needed, if I could come in that afternoon. Excellent, I thought, I should have time to go vote before I go to work too. I went to the polling place before noon but it was crazy! It was like a house party! There were beer bongs and togas and...just kidding. Mostly there were elderly folks packed as tightly as their walkers would allow. I decided I could take my chances after work.

"Did they explain to you that you needed to take Ibuprofen before you came?" asked the nurse as I arrived for my procedure.
"No," I said.
"Oh, they left a message on your voicemail, it says here."
Voicemail? Oh, right, on the lost phone.

No matter, I had the procedure anyway. What I didn't know was that usually, after that kind of procedure, you're supposed to have someone drive you home and then you're supposed to take it easy. Well, first of all, I didn't have anyone to drive me home, and second, I was driving back to work, not home. Third, I couldn't call anyone anyway since I don't have a phone.

I walked carefully up the stairs to my office, breathing like a contraction with every step. I sat at my desk trying to ignore my screaming inside. Every time I got up, I walked with a gangsta limp.

Don't you hate how people ask you how you're doing and you are just supposed to say, "Fine. I'm fine" when you're not fine, you're in pain and feel terrible. However, you also don't want to get into the details on exactly what you had medically done because it's really none of their business and you don't want to have to share? Yeah.
"Oh, I'm fine." Wince.

After work, I met Other Half and the kids at a birthday party. Other Half handed me Proximo. I thought at that moment that 19 pounds of baby was probably a stupid weight for a baby. I limped around the party (my gangsta limp had lightened to a chola limp by that point.) I decided to take the baby and try my chances at the polls again.

I showed up to my regular polling place, found a parking space, and made it into the still crowded school. That's where I saw a sign that said that my precinct had been moved to an entirely different location. The polls close at 8pm. It was 7:45. Right. Baby and I made like limping bats out of hell and drove to the other place.

I walked in to find my friend Lindy at the end of the line in the hallway. I was so happy to have someone to talk to. "You're just getting here?" Lindy exclaimed, "The line is taking two hours." "Two hours? Two HOURS?" We passed the time chatting. Lindy looked adorable in her maternity clothes and had procured a chair on wheels. We traded off in the chair, sweating in the hottest polling place known in the free world.

About 30 minutes in I realized that Lindy wasn't at the end of the line, she was in the crook of the line; it kept going, wrapping back down the hallway. I hope nobody was too upset that I jumped into the line, but I couldn't bear the thought that I'd have to wait two hours, in pain, holding a hyper baby as his bedtime came and went. But yes, voting is that important.

I have to say that voting can be fun.

You see neighbors and friends you haven't seen in years. People that you knew as a child, friends of your parents; it was relatively festive, you know, for a TWO HOUR WAIT. My neighbor told me that she'd been to the polling places five times at different times during the day trying to find less of a wait, no such luck. I had to stick it out even though my body thought I was being ridiculous.

Special thanks to my town for having closed a bunch of polling stations to save money. People were not happy, threats of letters to the editor were made. I was glad Lindy was there to giggle with--I might talk her into designing my nonexistent garden yet.

I thought about calling Other Half on the way home to tell him about my day.

I really have to find my phone.


Karyn said...

Way to be a good USAmerican! At our polling place there was no line and a few of the workers had no teeth, so it was hard to understand their instructions... or whatever they were saying.
I hope you feel better and find all the things you have lost... they are in the last place you will look for them. (I think it is very funny when people are amazed that they found something in the last place they looked. Duh. If you find it you don't have to keep looking. I am easily amused.)

Ah Britty said...

Absentee ballots are the way to go! Just get it in before the voting day so that it counts in the numbers THAT day. Good work, though. I'm impressed!

Bek said...

wow, you win. You had quite a day.

We had tons of polling places and few lines, just no ballots at many of them. That is right, they ran out of ballots. Making me glad that I vote absentee. I wouldn't have been as persistant as you... good job.

Sorry about the key and the phone. That stinks.

SusieQ said...

I hate to brag, but my state has gone completely to mail-in ballots. It rocks. Only problem is, by the time they get around to counting our votes, the election has been over for like 2 weeks.

miggy said...

Worth the read. Your pain = my pleasure. Sorry about all the hassle schmassle.

b. said...

Why DID you lose your key? =)

I hope your body is feeling better.

I chatted with my dentist and played with his babies the entire hour and a half wait.

But I voted.

Emily said...

And? Do we get to know who you voted for?

The "I Voted" sticker is truly a beautiful thing, as are you, and I'm certain cjane's madre would approve of your cleavage.

compulsive writer said...

"But did you really check? Did you retrace your steps?"


I can't believe I waited in line for an hour (It's bad enough to close down all the polling places, but the ineptitude of the poll workers absolutely slayed me.) and I didn't even get a sticker. But I did have the satisfaction of being able to fill out an exit poll.

Lindsey said...

I'm totally laughing about OH and the lost key. Puh-lease.

I want to know who you voted for, too!

I got to my polling station with all the really slow moving old ladies and I was informed that I could not vote because I had gone and registered myself as an independent. This was after I spent 15 minutes driving around looking for a place to park on a one way street--right before our polling station closed. I went to the gym after just to work off my anger.

sarah k. said...

When I was in Utah, I only voted so they'd know that there were differing opinions in Utah, even though my vote counted for nothing else. I'm going to wallow a little in the fact that the place I live now, though flat and boring, is a place where my vote counts.

Did you ever find your keys? I lost my phone a couple months ago. We had finally broken down and gotten the expensive, nice phone with lots of cool stuff, and I lost it. I've never lost one of the crappy ones. Grr, Argh.

fijiangirl said...

What dedication to vote! I can't believe people actually had to wait that long in line, like ride at Disneyland. My kids helped me vote and we were lucky the only other one in the place with us was Grandpa and they were even telling him who to vote for!

The MomBabe said...

And that's why I request early ballots.

AzĂșcar said...

I normally love to go vote, it's such a community experience. I love seeing people and running into old friends. I don't even mind a little wait, 20 minutes or less sounds about right.

However, this was a totally preventable event: closing polling stations, moving precincts, etc. As my friend Marlene, who is from South Carolina, said, "This is the kind of dirty trick they pull in the South!" Which made me laugh. And then I shuffled forward in line a little bit more.

Likely said...

Does the Wilk rental place rent out metal detectors? :)

Lois said...

Gee, now my hour and 10 minute wait doesn't seem too long (and I, too, had to drive around finding my new polling place). Hope you find your key and your phone!

Be proud of that sticker, you earned it!

Jill said...

Please don't hate me, but where I voted, there was no line whatsoever.

When you find your key, could you look to see if my stapler and a bunch of my spoons are there also?

i i eee said...

You are my idol? Or...what am I supposed to call you? Idol sounds so, breaking the Ten Commandments-ish, not to mention being tainted by a nation-wide karaoke contest. (Isn't tainted now just a foul word?) Inspiration? I admire you? I gaze up at you, beaming with adoration?

Anyway, I love that you put yourself through that to vote -you are fierce. And meow! You look HOT in that pic!

Brooke said...

no wait here. i guess where i live we are less politically savvy? or lazy?

good luck on that phone. usually i use it as an excuse: "oh you called? yeah. lost my phone. sorry i couldn't babysit your ten kids for you last minute..."

i i eee said...

I love losing my phone, btw. LOVE IT. If it weren't for my fondness of text messaging, I would be completely and happily cell-phone-less.

db said...

did you look in the ignition?

April said...

I agree with iieee, you look really hot in that pic! Love the hair!

And I would be soooooo annoyed at that line of questioning about your key. *hmph* I would have said some swears. But maybe that's why I'm single and you're married with two adorable munchkins.

AzĂșcar said...

Believe it or not, I made a special point of looking in the ignition and under the floor mats. I always check the most embarrassing places first, just to cover my bases.

Olivia said...

i lost my phone a couple of weeks ago, so i feel you: nice at first, sucky later. i am impressed that you waited so long to vote! I got annoyed when i got to the polls and found two people in line in front of me... you are one fiiiine american. i salute you.