Like every morning, my Home Medics Pro Alarm Clock disrupted my sleep with the sounds of waves crashing onto a shore that I've never been to. I hopped out of bed with an extra pep in my step as I hustled to the shower before letting my dogs out for the first time today. I looked in the mirror at a day's worth of facial hair growth and decided not to shave... if there was a day
to look like a hippie-college-grad-Democrat... it was today (thought not hippie-college-grad-Democrat enough to skip the shower).
Dogs are out and I'm going for the instant gratification of some Honey Nut Cherios. CNN's Morning Election Coverage blares off my television as I inhale my breakfast and hastily make-up a a few cups of coffee. I change to News-12, Long Island and wait for the right moment to begin my journey around the block to Bay Shore Middle School, my designated voting center.
That's my dog, Bernie. He's actually watching the Election coverage with me (the television's across from the wood burning stove in my living room) as he sits on his perch. While continuing morning routine on this most un-routine of days, I open my laptop and discover the people over at Facebook.com provide a friendly reminder to everyone who's been living under a rock for the past year:
Now seems like the perfect time to vote. I will miss the morning rush and avoid the lunch-breakers. Plus, it's too early for the voting machines to malfunction. So, I switch off the television, log-off of Facebook, and say 'adios' to my puppies as I trot out of my house and down the walk-way to my car. It's time to vote.
It's "go-time." I roll into the parking lot at Bay Shore Middle School and notice a small sign "prohibiting" any "campaigning on the premises" during Election Day. Ten feet past the sign, there's a man wearing a business suit with a rubber Barack Obama mask on his head. I laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation and slowly roll along down the entrance. He raises his fist to me, his fake rubber eyes meeting mine, and I return the fist raise out of my car's window. It was a true moment of solidarity...
...I then looked around to make sure no one saw the intimate moment between the masked supporter and myself...
...No one did. Moving along.
I'm immediately confronted by a large man who demands my district. Obviously, my youthful look has already discredited everything I should know. He might as well of asked my age as I blew past his ignorant, girthy body and entered the Middle School lobby. The table for District #169 was empty and I hastened my steps until I reached the table.
Perhaps a visual learner, the large man watched from a distance as I passed his "What-To-Do-On-Election-Day" Test.
My name is signed, and I'm ready to roll. There's one person ahead of me and I look at the photocopy of the voting booth taped to the wall. I look through, make up my mind on several candidate (though I already decided on everything weeks beforehand) and nervously tap the wall with the toe of my shoe and pretend to read some dedications on the wall of the school.
The curtain opens. My turn.
I click down my last vote and stare at the "Democrat: Barack Obama, Joe Biden" one last time. To it's left was the 'red-X,' signifying my support. I stared long and hard wishing I had that ability from the "Cam Jansen" books we read in Elementary School. This was definitely a different experience from 2004. I care more.
I gripped the red handle to register my vote and took a deep break. Crank.
This is my attempt to look extremely stoic. Or to have the "Man on a Mission" vibe. Either way, it does the trick (to me anyway... and don't any of you attempt to say otherwise...). My vote was cast, it was out of my hands, and I have one thing on my mind:
Gotta love Election Day. Exercising your rights and Free Coffee? What a country! I walk into the next town's Starbucks and, once asked by the barista for my order, exclaimed: "I just voted. May I have a free cup of coffee?" The barista acknowledged my vote (by no official means... I'm sure if I really wanted to I could drive around to every Starbucks on Long Island and do the same thing) and gave me a free "tall" (small for those of us who refuse to use Starbucks lingo) coffee:
The Starbucks was actually out of Whole Milk... but on a day like today... who can complain. I'll take Free Coffee, Skim Milk, and Barack Obama any day of the week.