thought perhaps if the train tunnels were still flooded it might be difficult to get to Brooklyn, where I have always voted previously. But the trains WERE running to BK! After standing on line with Nick at our local polling site for maybe 10 minutes I decided to make the trek to my home borough and exersize my right as a tax payin' American and VOTE!
|The line to vote. (In the background is the line for GAS!)|
When I got out of the station I saw an empty Metro newspaper box and I decided to put my just read issue into said box, as if I were returning a library book. This too felt very small towny.
My home polling place in the lobby of the building where I grew up had NO line, as usual. I walked right up to a friendly grey haired woman who had a standard American accent although for some reason prononced "PRY-vu-SEE", PRIV-isy. When she couldn't find my name on the list, her response was "That's no problem you can vote by filling out an affidavit." Her tone was so pleasant that I hardly cared that I had traveled into BROOKLYN to do the same thing I could've done, mere blocks from my apartment!
I went into my PRIV-icy booth and began to fill out my forms. There was an unruly old man in the booth next to me, "I CAN'T SEE IT!" One of the helpers showed him where the magfinying glass was. He was so sweet and old and loud and the man helping him was so patient with him.
There was another old man who's caretaker was assiting him "YOU'RE A REPUBLICAN, FILL IN D'BUBBLE. And then she said a few moments later "JUST KNOW YOU GOT A DEMOCRAT WATCHIN' OVER YOUR SHOULDER". The whole place laughed.
There was an air of community, people felt pride, there was a sense of duty. I called up Nick after handing in my forms and he was STILL on line!!!!! Sucker. I called up my parents who were right upstairs and said "Hi" and "GO VOTE!!" But I didn't see them, which is crazy now that I think of it.
I was an elevator ride away! Anyway.
I rode back to "the city" and went to find Nick. The line to vote went around the entire block and inside of the building was crazy too! My phone had died in our time apart so I had to find a payphone to call him. I tried using the payphone at the school-cum-voting site. There was a sign above a small closet door that said "PUBLIC TELEPHONE" I went in and tried turning on the light, but it didn't work, but that's okay, neither did the payphone! I found one around the block. I felt like a crazy person using a payphone. I think it made the people around me nervous. But again there was something about dropping a quarter into the slot that seemed so homey, a perfect complement to the day.
After this year I suppose I'll have to change my polling place to my actual district, here in Manhattan, which saddens me slightly as I enjoy the tradition of journying to Clark Street, seeing familiar faces and not having to wait on any lines. But I'm sure I'll find charm and community voting here on the Upper West in different ways.
I'm sure for many, New York City seems a big, busy, lonely, place, but for me it feels like home. I see kindness all the time, people help each other, neighbors smile and wave as they pass. I hope that after the election tonight I won't have to move to another country. J.K.?