God help us all.
ETA…I posted the above ten hours ago, this morning, after I got to work – late, because I went to the polls first. I shouldn’t have been late, and that’s actually the tale I came back to write. (Even if no one else sees it – I just want to remember this. Which I might not if I don’t write it down.)
I moved last year, and in a fit of paranoia sometime in September I put through a change of address thingy to make sure my voter registration was up to date (even though I was pretty sure I’d done it last year). I received a letter confirming I was good to go, and I guess I paid more attention to the fact that I was ok to vote than to where to go. And who knows where that letter went; I don’t.
So I checked online. There are lots of websites to visit to see where your polling place is, and the one I checked said to go to the elementary school five minutes away that -> way. Being still paranoid, not wanting to screw this up, I’ve checked a few times; I didn’t want to take a chance on wandering the streets this morning. Every time: the elementary school. Come to find out one of my co-workers, who lives a little ways away, was going to the same place. Nifty.
I told my boss I was voting before work, and got up early (though not as early as I meant to, which is no surprise to anyone who knows me), and off to the school I went. They have a remarkably small parking lot for a place serving as a polling station, but I lucked out on my first circuit and made my way up to join the line out the door of the school. I spotted my co-worker and said hello, and she asked if I was in the right line; I wasn’t, but that’s because the second half of the alphabet, where I needed to be, had a shorter line and was actually inside the building.
The mood was remarkably … happy. People were cheerful and friendly. Someone brought a service dog with them. Several people had kids on their hips (including one little girl with a hat knitted to look like a strawberry, which I’m totally stealing). There was a bake sale set up on a table against the wall (smart). Someone came out of the gym, where the voting “booths” were, and her toddler had a sticker on his coat; a man in line exclaimed with exaggerated shock “You voted??“, and the mother laughed and said “Well, he’s twenty-one!”
Finally, I got up to the table and announced my street. The woman with the binder flipped a chunk of pages, and then said “Oh, you need to go over to that table.” Oh…kay… I went over to the other table, where a man was just returning to his seat in front of a laptop. I explained, and gave the street name again, and he said “Ah! That woman I was just speaking with had the same problem!” What problem??? In short, I was in the wrong location. But every website I looked at said this one. Nope. I had to go to the middle school. And where, pray tell, was that? I was given a slip of paper with directions to a government center near the school – just go past that, he said. No, chipped in a woman nearby, it was before it. Oh… kay.
So I got back in my car (having seen my co-worker on the way out: “All set?” “Nope.”) Turns out that school I passed every day on my way to work before the office moved was the middle school – hey, I never noticed, my bad. So it was five minutes <- that way instead.
There was no problem parking, and absolutely no line at the middle school – which was actually a bad thing, as it turned out. I followed an older woman and a young woman into the building, and we all three (young woman in the lead) went in, past this school’s bake sale, and … wait, the young woman is a teacher? Well, then, where – ?? A handy bystander pointed the two of us back the way we’d come. There were no signs. At all. Muttering slightly, both of us backtracked and went into the gym (deja vu). For the umpteenth time I gave my street name, and the girl I spoke to said to go to the woman at that table who was wearing a red scarf. Well, it wasn’t red (more purple) … aaaand she directed me to the woman at the next table over. Under other circumstances I might have taken all of this as indication that I should just quit and go on to work, but not today. I gave my street name yet one more time, and – – there I was! I was given a ballot!
Off I went to fill it out, and … the minutes of smooth sailing ended. There was apparently one scanner in the building, and from what I overheard it had failed, or gotten unplugged, or something; a woman was standing there feeding in ballot after ballot, while an elderly gentleman stood by, apparently waiting to enter his. I think the woman put a good couple dozen ballots through.
But then it was my turn. And I put my ballot in. I literally crossed myself when I filled it out; as I said in a comment somewhere today, they say there are no atheists in foxholes, and this whole thing has felt like the world’s biggest foxhole. From the beginning, my sister has been saying that she keeps expecting Ashton Kutcher to pop out from behind a tree and say “Gotcha! How could you ever think that was for real??”
I will never, ever understand how it has been for real. How I’m sitting here at (as I type) 8:06 PM, watching as polls close and the states begin to be allocated, and the electoral votes start dropping like weights on a scale. (I’m keeping a spreadsheet. I know, every network and website is showing a map, but I want to.) I don’t understand how that one guy, whose name I might remember at three tomorrow morning, could watch his entire campaign unravel after a microphone picked up a broken-voiced screech in the middle of a rally … and yet the man Samantha Bee referred to as “America’s burst appendix” (and a “tangerine-tinted trashcan fire”) (and “screaming carrot demon”) (and a “crotch-fondling slab of rancid meatloaf”)
(and a “thrice-married foul-mouthed tit judge who likes Planned Parenthood and thinks Corinthians is a type of car upholstery”)(and about forty more, but I’ll stop now, except for:) and “the least qualified candidate ever to lurch into the public spotlight and shit on Gold Star moms” has won at least nine states so far. (Note to self: never visit these states.) After some of the foulest, vilest statements and reactions I’ve ever heard (the only time I heard the infamous bus tape all the way through, I literally cried – the sheer horror that a presidential election has produced this rancidness washed over me, and I lost it), millions are still rabidly behind him.
I understand being upset about how things are going. I can’t go to the dentist because I still owe money on the kidney stone I had clobber me Labor Day 2015. I understand believing that tipping the government upside down and shaking it might help.
But this man has never led anything greater than a board meeting, and the way things are experience is nothing to dismiss. Hillary Clinton has been there, done that, got the scars. She doesn’t need directions to the oval office.
Literally 99% of everyone I’ve talked to is afraid. The only people I know who support Trump are a woman at work who believes mammograms cause breast cancer and another who believes immunization is a big scam… And my mother’s hairdresser.
Anyway. It’s now 10:19, it’s much, much closer than I was even afraid it would be, and I need to sit and rock while watching results (simultaneous ABC and the “Says Who” podcast live YouTube thing.
From Twitter: “Look, Clinton’s gonna win. US President order has to follow Star Trek Captain order: white guy, white guy, black guy, woman, Scott Bakula.”
My next post may come from Canada … There’s lots of votes that haven’t been counted yet, it’s going to be fine … But I don’t feel good yet. I have to go.