Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Election Day Aggravation (on being a one-l Hilary)

After voting for Hillary in the KY primary, I made my way to the post office and got in a long slow line.

Behind me was a big man with a deep, resonant voice that hummed into my brain as he talked endlessly on his cell to a woman whom I learned is suffering from depression, and for whom he had ordered online, "love that eBay!" and dropped off at her back door, six boxes of a "completely holistic, can't do you any harm" anti-depressant.

He further suggested that she stop taking her doctor-prescribed medication and shift to his cure; and then went on to tell her about his son's (don't know that for sure, as I was merely an unwilling listener) struggle with his parole officer and his license-loss for a DUI, and then on to many, many other topics in great and loving detail.

As the line we were in moved forward, I would jump ahead to get some space between me and his deep resonant voice directly into my ears, but each time he closed the gap to stay closely behind me.

This low-grade misery ended when I gained the head of the line and stepped up to the tall and handsome, grey-haired, U of KY basketball-obsessed woman postal clerk. The big guy moved to the other clerk.

"Well, how are you today!" The clerk boomed at me as she began to process my letters.

"I voted, so I feel good!" I replied, touching the "I voted" sticker on my shirt.

"Well, I didn't!" she almost-shouted, so that her voice could be heard by everyone in the place. "No one to vote for!"

OK, I thought, "no one to vote for" among Hillary, Barack, and McCain. That probably means deep religious right. I looked down at the counter and did not speak.

"Did you hear about Ted Kennedy!" she shouted, as she placed the label on my envelope. At that I looked up. She wanted a fight.

Looking her in the eye I said, "Yes, and that is terrible news to me, though I bet a lot of people around here think it's great." I had cut out her chance to smirk and do the right-wing anti-Kennedy nudge-nudge, or so I thought.

To undercut me, she took up the "thoughtful Christian" response, wide-eyed and loving. "My gosh, I know what you mean, but people really should be able to separate out a man's personal life from his political beliefs, you know?"

She was not taking this in a very logical direction, so she tried again, while we interpolated comments about adding one-cent stamps to my letters. "I remember when my husband was in college, and Jack Kennedy was assassinated, and the negative comments - "

At this bizarre attempt to show her sympathy for the Kennedys I interrupted her, trying to prevent myself from hearing more shit of this terrible type. I lowered my voice and said, "Anyway, seeing as how my first name is Hilary, I just keep my mouth shut around here to get along, you know?"

She did not hear me and shouted "What?" So I repeated myself, a bit louder. And then the big guy who had stood bellowing on his phone behind me, heard my remark and burst into new voice. "Wow, with that name I bet you aren't voting for Bama - Obama, Obama," he crowed from beside me.

I hunched down and looked at "my" clerk, who finally realized that maybe she should shut the hell up and get me out of there. I said, "You see what I mean," and she nodded in sympathy and gave me my stamps, as the guy, on his way out the door, shouted to the room, "She has to vote for Hillary, she doesn't have a choice, not a choice!"

I turned around wide-eyed to the line behind me to make my escape, and found one indignant woman shouting at the hastily retreating back of the big guy, "She does too have a choice!" The others in line stared back at me, mildly shocked at all this outcry. As I walked toward the door I saw a beautiful young black woman standing in line, with her "I voted today" sticker on her shirt.

I said, to her, "I voted too - and isn't it great?"
"Yes, it's WONDERFUL!" she replied with a friendly smile, and I went out into the fresh air.

1 comment:

LostBoy said...

I listen to folks blah, blah, blah and remind myself it's OK that they blah, blah, blah. Somebody has to... I'm just glad it ain't me... or you!

And the privilege of voting is way underrated.