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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Our names are in their Third Thirds, too

There I was at the teachers meeting for the Alaska Literacy Program. All of us are volunteers, most of us are women, and three of us are named Barbara.

Tell me, do you know any young Barbaras? I thought not.

Back when we were having babies, there was a resurgence of what I call grandparent names. Suddenly, there were baby Maxes and baby Emmas, Emilys, and Sophies. But Barbara has never made its comeback.

In fact, the median age of all Barbaras alive in 2014 was 64. Ruths and Frances were 68; Carols, Freds, and Bobs, 63. Which is a whole lot more modern than Gertrude, whose median age is 80. In fact, if you’re named Gertrude, 89.4% of you are dead. Right up there with Mabel, Myrtle, and Blanche. Or Elmer, Clarence, and Chester.
This all comes from matching social security birth names with actuarial tables, and it’s kind of fun if you’re noticing that there are three Barbaras in your Literacy Program teacher cohort. It’s part of “How to Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know Is Her Name,” and you can check it out here.

Yesterday the cashier at the supermarket reminded me that it was 55+ discount day. I have to assume that’s because he saw my name come up with my rewards card sign-in. Right?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Need any fingerless gloves?

The blogger Jesse Kornbluth wrote about something a few days ago and said, “I realized that, for the first time since That Thing happened, I was in a good mood.” Reading that, I laughed. We all know what That Thing is. Laughter is still a premium in my days.

So there I was at a goodbye party and I headed to the dessert table. On it was a tray of dozens of little snowmen wrapped around bite-size chocolate bars. If this were a picture dictionary and the word was “adorable,” those snowmen would be it.
And here’s what a tray of them looks like.
I looked closely. “How did she make the little hats?”

“She must have ordered them from the Oriental Trading catalog,” someone said.

No, I thought, I think she cut out strips of cloth and sewed the little hats. But how? So, of course I had to find the craftsperson, Sharon. I hunted her down and introduced myself.

Sharon said her sister sent her the instructions, even sent her the rubber stamp to make the faces.

“But how did you make the little hats?” I asked.

“I buy lots of little kids knit gloves and I cut the fingers off.” Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! This is more than a light bulb; this is a blast of cleverness. When I encounter something clever and creative and … adorable, I just feel admiration flood through me. I forgot That Thing and just enjoyed this New Thing.

Sharon said she learned this from her sister. And my guess is her sister learned it from, who learned it from, who learned it from … and so on in the way of crafters. So I actually found it here, too.

“Now,” Sharon said, “I just have to find a lot of kids who want fingerless gloves.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's your definition of "scary"?

On our road trip, the furthest south my sister and I got was Baltimore. We ended up there late at night with no idea where we were headed. All we found were boarded up houses, a wasteland of urban decay. It looked like the South Bronx in the ’70s, it was dark, and it was scary. Some of you will get the literary allusion when Elizabeth groaned, “Shuhman.…”

Finally, we found a hotel. In the morning, we asked the woman at the desk for directions. We wanted to go to the Inner Harbor and we wanted to eat crab cakes at Faidley’s in the Lexington Market. She said, “You don’t want to walk there.”

Visions of boarded up houses flashed through our minds. Okay, we’ll find some other crab cakes. So I went on Trip Advisor to research Lexington Market.

What a window onto two Americas! Half the contributors were terrified of sleazy people, dirt, homeless people, nodding addicts, eating on paper plates with plastic forks, and crime. The other half loved the food, loved the environment and the hubbub, would go back again in a heartbeat. Some contributors said, “Relax, people,” and one said he’s African-American and he imagines maybe they were talking about how he feels when he goes into an all-white venue.

So Elizabeth and I walked down the street, exploring. Two blocks over, we could see the sign for Lexington Market. We could also see that the streets in between looked just fine, no boarded up buildings; people strolling, students on break, workers out. Nothing sleazy, nobody drugged up. We walked over.

Lexington Market! Oh, the thrill of it! When I lived in Costa Rica one summer, I’d go to the market practically every day. I’d talk to the vendors with their homeopathic remedies, I’d buy the fresh vegetables, I’d pick up my breads and cheeses. It was crowded and lively and fresh and so exciting.

Lexington Market is all that and more. In English! Elizabeth went nuts over all the offerings. I had to take photos of the giant birthday cakes – little girl Sophie would have died for all those princesses and castles! We tried Bergers original homemade cookies, and yes, I had my jumbo 100% lump crab cake on a paper plate with a plastic fork. We could have stayed there all day.
The Lexington Market is BLACK with a capital B and a lot more. It is exultantly Black, filled with the energy of people and culture and their specialty foods and family. No one has birthday cakes that big unless they have big birthday parties. Everyone is hard working if they’re running a stand in Lexington Market.

So why did those other people think it was so scary? Did they think it was scary like the boarded-up houses on the empty blocks that I thought were scary? For some, “scary” might mean bodily harm, for others it might mean anything that takes us outside our comfort zones. What makes for “scary”? And just like that, I was back to post-election ruminating and fretting: Scary to you isn’t scary to me (and vice versa) and that’s where America is right now.

We learn our comfort zones in our First and Second Thirds, but in our Third Thirds, we can still stretch them. In fact, they say the major way to avoid cognitive decline is to do something hard. Not crossword-puzzle-hard but learning-another-language-hard, something frustrating. Difficult.

When I was a senior in high school, the welcoming reception for university admission was held at the Harvard Club in New York City. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to be in a rich people’s place surrounded by rich people. I saw photos of the place and it didn’t look like a rec room, a high school gym, a family living room. It reeked of wealth, and was probably filled with stuffy people not like me.

My parents made me go.

Now, in our Third Thirds, we’re the ones who have to make ourselves go. On the other side? Maybe the best crab cakes in the world.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Roads Taken

I keep trying – relentlessly trying – to find lighter notes, happier news post-election. So lately I’ve been reflecting on the road trip I took with my sister during our last visit with my mom. Every year – and I intend to do this every year of my whole life forever – Elizabeth and I hop in a car and go someplace. As I’ve mentioned, the one thing about Alaska that screams “Relocate!” is the one-road-north-one-road-south problem. To get anywhere new and exciting, you have to get on an airplane.

My sister and I just get in a car, and New Things after New Things appear to us. The first year, we ended up in Corning, New York, where we made glass mobiles, saw glass art, and tootled around upstate New York.

The following year, we ended up in Burlington, Vermont where we discovered Vermont teddy bears, a little bicycle ferry, and Ben & Jerry’s factory tours.
This year, we went south. Somehow, we ended up in Wilmington, Delaware at the Hagley Museum, which is actually the site of the gunpowder works and family estate of the duPont family. Everything I knew about DuPont I learned at the New York World’s Fair: “Better living through chemistry.” But I had no idea it started with gunpowder.

As one of the guides said, you can see stately homes and gardens anywhere, but you can’t see waterworks like these anywhere else. Located on the shores of a creek, the whole mechanical operation – the machine shop, the steam engine house – is powered by water, with pulleys running into several buildings.

Gunpowder production began in 1802 and was so crucial during the Civil War that Lincoln staged troops there to protect it. The duPonts only sold to the union, and Gettysburg was only about 100 miles away. Guides and displays told the story of gunpowder production, precautions, and the inevitable explosions.
I fell in love with Hagley. The grounds are so beautiful, and the mechanics of the gears and pulleys so fascinating that I came up with a new dream for myself. Hagley houses a scholar in residence. I asked if they’d ever had an artist in residence. No, they haven’t.

So this is my Next Hope. I can imagine wandering the Hagley grounds with my pencil, sketchbook, and paints. And I know this is the longest of long shots, but even that doesn’t matter because now I have a Next Hope.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A line connects two dots, right?

A couple in Anchorage – Meg and Zach – gave an incredible gift to the community. They bought the house across the street from theirs and turned it into Anchorage Community House. There are classes there, an art room, a tool check-out library – it’s a great idea.

My brain needed a rest from political ads, conversations, and coverage; so a couple of weeks ago, I took a class to make a plant stand. Not only would I learn how to make a plant stand, but I’d actually end up with one. It could lift the schefflera off the new carpet and be USEFUL.
Zach had the wood and tools, and my job was to cut the pieces and screw them together. We measured and marked the wood with pencil. Then I used the circular saw to cut along the lines. I learned the word kerf, which is the cut the saw makes.

The thing is, it’s hard to keep the saw exactly on target. Even harder when you have Third Third eyes and you’re not exactly sure – once you have the safety goggles on – where the line is anymore. The cut – the kerf – has its own dimension. So every now and then, Zach would say something like, “You’re missing it” when I guessed I was in the right spot. Zach compared all the post lengths and worried they weren’t exactly even. And I would tell him not to worry, that the plant stand was going to stand on carpet after all.
A couple days later, I read the book A Tenth of a Second about how measurement had to develop if science was going to develop. The author, Jimena Canales, starts with astronomy and how different astronomers got different measurements for when a star was in position in the sky. This caused lots of problems for mapmaking, even for determining the exact length of the meter (which is based on the earth’s circumference). It all comes down – among other things – to reaction time, how long it takes a person to see, process, and note a star’s transit across the sky. It was a huge international mess in the 1800s.

In 1835, an astronomer named Francis Baily showed that even normal, everyday measurements fell victim to the problem. Some people measured from the middle of a line, some from the top edge, some from the bottom. Even if you just have to connect two dots, it matters whether you’re starting from the inside edge of the dot or the outside edge, from the middle or the side.
The dictionary calls it the “personal equation,” and it affects just about everything humans try to measure.

Why am I telling you all this? Because there I was trying to escape all the election coverage: this opinion piece, that editorial; this article from one newspaper, that article from another; NPR vs Fox News; one pollster vs another … a million different viewpoints. And there’s no way Zach and I could have agreed on where a pencil line “began.”

It puts a lot of things in perspective when you realize there’s inherent bias in even using a ruler.

But even with all that, my plant stand still holds my plant up just fine.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

One foot in front of the other

I’d hoped that by my Third Third, I would have achieved some Wisdom. I thought Wisdom would be kind of mellow, that I’d feel content and solid and calm.

I spent election day happily welcoming A-->L and M-->Z voters  (A-->Ls beat M-->Zs 656 to 491, as expected). Then I heard the results. So now I’m processing this all, and it’s taking me a long time. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I am angry angry angry. Sometimes I’m vindictive; sometimes I’m passive. None of it feels like Wisdom. It’s an Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross process. Bear with me.

Day One, Wednesday
Overpowering grief settled on me, overwhelming futility, despair, and sadness. A lifetime of fighting mental other-ness and I succumbed, for the first time, to not getting out of bed. I stayed there. Even my mother’s death didn’t put me there; the election put me there.
It wasn’t because my candidate lost. My candidates mostly always lose. I live in a “red” state; most people vote differently from how I do. I can handle that.

In fact, it’s precisely because I’m “very blue” that I have been saying all along that people left out of prosperity aren’t stupid. The stupid ones are the 1% that thought they could keep this up forever, that they could keep people scraping by while they lived at the top of the food chain.

But it’s turned out that prosperity may not have really been the issue at all. One Trump supporter told me America needed to return to the time “when men were men,” when women didn’t act like men, when there weren’t so many homosexuals around. One said, “We’ll never go back to Black again.” And the anti-Semitism has been so overt I can pick it up without a “dog whistle.”

I believe in making America great again. If we’re in our Third Third, we share the same decades, but they weren’t the same for all of us. Some of us couldn’t buy homes in certain areas or swim in their pools. We girls couldn’t take shop class and play the sports we might want to. Some of us were discouraged from applying to certain colleges because they didn’t take “our kind.” Some of us couldn’t vote.

That’s not the great America I want to return to. In fact, returning to that America would mean my America was dead. I knew my mother would die; I didn’t know my America would.

Day Two, Thursday
I feel like every single person who voted for Donald Trump is telling me I have no place in America. They’re telling me my daughter has no place here. They’re telling me my gay family and friends, my Muslim students, my Black friends, my Spanish-speaking friends have no place here. In fact, I probably have the wrong friends. Oh, maybe they’ll make an exception for me because they know me, but the world they want to return to has no place for me.

Maybe the Trump voters felt like all the changes in society meant they have no place here. Where could they go to get away from gays, from bossy women, from “Happy Holidays”? From black lives mattering, from people speaking Spanish? From people wanting to limit guns sold to mentally ill people?

But we’re just one country geographically. How are we going to share?
Day Three, Friday
But how can we share a country with people who want us not to exist? Are gay people supposed to vaporize? Non-Christians, too? People who speak other languages?

Let me try an example, a very personal one. Maybe you think America was great because there was prayer in school. But I have a different memory: I spent every morning of my elementary school years being forced to pray to Jesus – not my religion – in public school. On Fridays, when class was released at lunch time for catechism, only the Brown kids remained. Let me tell you how much our teachers liked that. Let me tell you what it was like when I was told to stand up at Christmas concerts because I was different: “Santa will never come to Barbara’s house.”

And I was in privileged America. My parents could buy a house in a white neighborhood, watch it appreciate in value, and create a nest egg for the future. Black families were denied that option.

Ask me if that’s the great America I want to return to.

I’ll tell you what I miss about America, the one I wouldn’t mind returning to. I miss common courtesy. I miss kindness. Now violence, bigotry, and meanness have been unleashed. People are saying things OUT LOUD that are appalling and threatening. Swastikas are being painted on store windows, the KKK is planning a victory parade, our new president bragged about sexual assault. He incited this and condoned this, and people voted for this.

It was here that I’d written that if someone didn’t vote, they couldn’t complain. And now I’ll say that if they voted for Trump, they have to own it. They can’t say, “I didn’t know it would be like this” or “I was just being a good Republican.” The whole campaign functioned on a racist, anti-Semitic basis at its core, and if they didn’t speak against it, they have to own it.

I’ve often wondered how the people who screamed at Black children integrating schools in the South, who were photographed with their hateful signs, felt years later when those photographs re-surfaced. Did they say, “It was different back then” or “I see I was wrong”? Did they own the damage they caused, the fear and terror they put into a young child’s life? And what about the silent people who let them do it?

It was hard to find a Nazi after World War II, and eventually, it may be hard to find a Trump supporter. People living near Auschwitz could claim they didn’t know what was going on, but I will MAKE SURE people know the damage they wreak. I am an avenging angel. I am Rage.

Day Four, Saturday
Garrison Keillor wrote that “Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen….” and I am outraged. How can someone tout privilege like that? How can someone dismiss the rightful concerns of so much of the population? The Democratic Party is part of the problem. They got us into this mess because they protected their inner circle, they catered to the 1%, they didn’t listen! No one in power was listening! People are being left out of prosperity, out of opportunity!

No one is listening!
Yes, I sound like a Trump supporter. Bernie supporters start at the same place, with the people who’ve been left out.

I shared a house once with a young man who told me he wasn’t into the political work I was doing. He said letting more people have “some” meant he would have “less,” whether it was money or power or even access. He was not into sharing if he could hold onto “all.”

Now I’m angry at everyone.

Day Five, Sunday
I see Arrival, the movie, and I step out of my angry present. Wisdom, I think, is always relearning empathy. Do you know my reasons? Do I know yours? I have not stood in your shoes and you have not stood in mine.
I have spent most of my professional life crossing divides, whether labor with management, political positions, social causes. I have taught, lectured, and run entire programs about “seeking first to understand.”

My Third Third is not the time to start demonizing people.

Whew.

As many of my friends have been consoling sobbing daughters over the last few days, my friend Helen told hers it wasn’t like after other elections, it was more like after her cancer diagnosis: “It wasn’t at all hard to decide what to do then – NOT run away and hide … or give up and give in to pessimistic projections of a doomed future. The only viable option for me was to fight as hard as I could and force myself to believe in an eventually positive outcome, despite the awful things I’d have to endure along the way.”

It’s going to be very, very hard if our climate is destroyed for that future; if families are broken up over papers and documentation; if more children grow up afraid. So I will stand with Standing Rock on Tuesday, I will march with a million women in January, and I will continue to teach English to refugees and immigrants. I am a brave Big Mouth – here and elsewhere – but I hope I will be a kind one. I miss kindness.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Who cooks dinner?

So let’s say you enter your Third Third earlier than your spouse: who does the cooking?

Do you:
  1. Do more of the cooking because he/she is still working (and earning income) and wouldn’t it be nice for them to come home to a hot meal? (with pleasure)
  2. Continue to share the cooking/household chores because you worked hard to establish an egalitarian household and you’re committed to that in your relationship? (with pleasure)
  3. Do more of the cooking because … (same as #1, but with resentment)
  4. Continue to share the cooking/household chores because … (same as #2, but with resentment)
I know there are some people who are delighted with their newfound time to cook and prepare meals. Those are the women who lined up at the Friends of the Library book sale in front of the cookbook shelves. Those are the folks who take photos of the meals they’ve prepared and post them on Facebook. (Yes, I do know ONE MAN who does this.)

I’m not those people. Mostly, I kind of forget about eating until I have a headache, BUT when I cook, I like it to be healthful, non-meat, and not processed. That takes time. This is the weekly cycle we’re on:

Monday: I cook delicious healthy meal with side dishes. I have to stop what I’m doing at 3:30 for this to be possible, but I am pleased with my effort, and my efforts are appreciated.
Tuesday: I cook delicious healthy meal with side dishes. I have to stop what I’m doing at 3:30 for this to be possible, but I am pleased with my effort, and my efforts are appreciated.
Wednesday: I have to make extra trips to the store for a missing ingredient that is not in stock at two stores (corn meal!?). This particular meal turns out to have a few more steps in it than I’d anticipated so my day gets eaten up with meal preparation. I decide husband is not properly appreciative. I have to stay up late to get my personal stuff done that I couldn’t get done during the day.
Thursday: I assemble a meal of delicious leftovers. I watch husband like a hawk, evaluating whether he is eating his way through the leftovers so we won’t get another meal out of them. I fill out angry survey form for grocery store that did not have corn meal in stock.
Friday: Husband is picking up on clues. He starts saying things like, “I’m making a list with some items I want to cook for a meal. Do you have anything to add?” I feel bad because he has contributed 40+ work hours to our household this week and now I am frightening him back into egalitarianism because he knows me and knows I am ready to blow. I feel very grumpy about all this, but I did not quit my job to cook dinners.

My husband and I had achieved a very nice balance during our working years. He did things; I did things. We both parented. Every now and then, I’d get miffed because my things were do-over-and-over-again things and his were big-project-achieved kind of things, but we worked out a balance of effort. I’ve never mowed the lawn; he’s never tended the garden. If something broken required glue, he fixed it; if it required sewing, I fixed it. We rotated regular meal preparation, but mostly he cooked food, and I cooked meals. Things felt even.

But now, I have more flexible, “leisure” time. And in talking to many women friends, that creates a guilty burden of “we should be” cooking dinner. And the problem with guilty burdens is that eventually resentment finds its way in. I’m sure my husband would say I shouldn’t feel this way, that I’ve earned my time, that I contribute to the household (if not at the same income level as before), but that’s because he’s nicer than I. He’d also say peanut butter is fine for dinner.

So other than giving myself a personality transplant (attempted, never successful), I’ve been trying to come up with solutions to the perceived Dinner Burden:
  1. Maybe peanut butter, yogurt, or whatever scrounging yields can be counted as a meal. Maybe dinner-as-meal is a Second Third thing. Maybe Third Third dinner needs to be re-imagined as bits-of-this-and-that, not a whole meal, but still sitting down together. Maybe a dinner meal can then be a surprise kind of thing, as in “Oh! You made dinner! What a nice surprise!”

  2. Browse my magazines and collected recipes and get enthused about cooking one of those creations?

  3. See a lot more movies at the Bear Tooth and eat dinner there?

  4. More giant soups, more salmon, sandwiches? Great volumes of leftovers? Start a recipe folder of “easy”?
Taking suggestions….

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A "New" Day

Yesterday, a friend mentioned that he’d lived in his house for ten years, a record for him. He said he’s owned more houses than cars.

I’ve lived in my house for 27 years. My friend Mark said I’ve had the same address in his address book longer than anyone else in his address book. I bought my used car in 2002 and expect to have it many more years. I won’t even tell you how old some of my clothes are.

Just adding up all those years is enough to give me a stagnation panic attack. Am I slowly petrifying? Will I become – am I already??? – so boring that I should just stay in bed? Is my Third Third just re-runs?

Well, no. On a good day, I say houses and cars are just the stable structures I include in my life so I can add chaos and change everywhere else. They are the externals that frame an unruly and curious internal life.

On other days, I just make a point of searching out New Things, my “Quest for New-ness.” In fact, if you look at the label list on the right side of this blog, “New Things” is the label with the most citations: 43. That’s led to spiralizing, sauerkraut, Zumba, apple crushing, 5 Crowns, log splitting, lots more. Forty-three blog posts about New Things – that’s a pretty good statistic. I’ll keep it. This one makes 44.
My friend Jinnie and I had a plan for Wednesday: we would go to her doctor’s office to pick up 2017 calendars. I looked forward to it for weeks because Jinnie and I have many, many reasons why the size and shape of this calendar is PERFECT and I have already described my despair when my usual supplier went out of print. Jinnie called ahead to make sure the new calendars were in, and we were set.
This is a perfect Third Third outing. We have purpose, leisure, and freedom. I really can’t describe the happiness such an outing gives me. (Yes, I know we were just getting calendars, but I already said I couldn’t describe it.)

Afterwards, calendars hot in hand, we went looking for art. Another thing we do. Then Jinnie said, “Let’s stop in Modern Dwellers and have a hot chocolate treat.” And, just like that, a New Thing popped up: hot chocolate so thick you eat with a spoon.
I was new, so I got the introductory descriptions: did I want “spicy” or “silky,” whipped cream or not?
I have searched the country for a great chocolate mousse, but I’d never had a hot chocolate mousse. I haven’t had a hot chocolate that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up either. It was extraordinary, and it was right across the parking lot from a place I visit regularly. Here I am in “one-road-north-one-road-south,” over-explored Anchorage, and I discover a New Thing off the same parking lot.

Suddenly, my eyes were open a little wider (and it wasn’t from all that chocolate). I felt refreshed; my world was a little newer. This time, New-ness came without a Quest. I hadn’t had to sign up for a class, join some new activity, check a calendar of events, or travel to some new destination. All I’d had to do was say “yes.”

Next thing we knew –  four hours later – it was dark outside.

It was a great Third Third day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Confessions of a Voting Vigilante

Is early voting the new fad? I have to do it because I work a polling place other than my own, but if I could, I’d always vote in my home precinct. I’d get to see neighbors, get a feel for turnout, pick up election energy.

So imagine my surprise when I showed up at the Division of Elections to vote early … and the line was out the door! We all waited 15 minutes or more, way more than anyone would ever have to wait in their home precinct. So why was everyone out voting early? I asked. Some people don’t know if they’ll be out of town, some have an irregular work schedule, some won’t be near home.

But there we all were on a Monday afternoon with time to kill. Only one woman had brought a book.

While we waited, a Division employee kept coming out, telling everyone to keep the doors to the foyer clear, that if there weren’t room, they’d have to wait outdoors. Then she’d walk to another area, leaving the doors unguarded. New people would arrive and try to squeeze into the foyer, blocking the doors. This actually messed up the people trying to exit so some control was needed.
Fortunately, the woman in front of me was a born class monitor. She jumped right in, defeating chaos, reminding everyone where to stand. I could tell a kindred spirit; I congratulated her for her civic mindedness because I know she embarrasses her kids, too. Hey, effective line control is an important societal function, and we all self-identified as good citizens (or we wouldn’t be lining up to vote).

People on line to vote on a Monday afternoon are in remarkable good cheer. It’s a very friendly, happy line of good citizens.

But this is what you do on an election line: you try to guess how people are going to vote. You consider every stereotype you may hold and you wonder whom they’re voting for.

I could guess how the woman with the purple and blue neon streaks in her hair might vote, but how about the woman with perfectly coifed hair and professionally-applied makeup? This is Alaska; women don’t show up at gala events that well turned out, so she was definitely in a class by herself. It was a Monday afternoon; where could she be going? And how would she vote?
What about the older man who kept his glasses propped on his forehead? How do “older white males” vote? Could I guess? And what about the man behind him, the dark-skinned man with a crew cut; how would he vote? Guys in baseball caps; how do they vote? And what about ALL THESE WOMEN?
So I wondered, in an election year marked by horrendous rudeness and incivility, would everyone be as happy and congenial if we knew how everyone was going to vote?

Me, I’m a voting vigilante. I say things like, “I think we should all get our thumbs dyed purple when we vote, and it should last until the next election. That way, if you don’t have a purple thumb and you start complaining, everyone can tell you to shut up because you didn’t care enough to vote.”
Okay, I don’t say exactly that. (I just think it.) What I do say are things like, “People DIED for the right to vote and you aren’t going to vote?!?”

My mother was such a SuperVoter – even holding political office once – that I’m sure she’s furious she missed voting in this election. She raised a ruckus once to get a ballot delivered to her in the hospital. She threatened to pull out IV tubes, discharge herself, and drive to the polling place. Which, in the end, is what she did.

So you’ll be there next Tuesday, right?

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