As I arrive at the community center to vote there are two little girls nearby. They are overly happy for seven o’clock in the morning. Smiles. Laughter. Dancing.
We adults — the mature ones, the wise ones, the responsible ones — impatiently stand waiting for the line to move forward. There’s no dancing in our line. Occasionally one or the other of us acknowledges “how thankful we will be when this election is all over.”
“Too many insults, and not enough talk about what they really believe in.”
“And from both of them, too.”
“I can’t believe the mess we’re in these days.”
. . . these days, the responsibility of voting brings with it a melancholy feeling. A gray numbness like stepping into a room to visit the terminally ill. Whispers and nods. Awkward silence. I don’t know where to look so I examine my shoes. “My feet hurt,” I think.
I edge forward to confirm my name and address. I find my spot in the voting booth and make check marks for individuals (or not), party platforms (or not), taxes (or not), legalizations (or not), more taxes (or not).
My job is finished. With eyes on the floor and “I voted” stuck on my shirt, I respectfully exit past the growing line of equally somber visitors. And nearby two little girls laugh and dance.