This past Tuesday, I voted. I understand that voting might not seem like an extraordinary feat, but it was for me.
Mr. Vagabond fired up the big truck Sunday morning and headed back to New England. Storm aftermath or no storm aftermath, he had to go back to work. Approximately 15 minutes after he left, I picked up a ladder and promptly found myself on the floor, unable to even scream. I really wanted to scream. My mouth was open and my eyes were wide. My fists were clenched. All of the earmarks of a good scream were there, but it just wouldn’t happen. I did manage a few jagged gasps for breath. Now I have picked up ladders many times in my life. Not once has it resulted in me curled up on the floor. This time, it was special. This time, phantom metal rods had been jammed through my spine. My spine was not happy about the arrangement.
I called Mr. V. to whine about my predicament as soon as I found my words.
Because it was Sunday, I opted to hobble off to the sofa and feel sorry for myself until I could see my regular doctor on Monday. This hobbling was truly a spectacular feat. I could walk, sure, but only when I was bent over at the waist with my hands almost touching my toes. The dogs were confused, and tried to trip me at every opportunity. Monday arrived, and with it came a 40 mile drive to Knoxville, a series of X-rays and medication, and another 40 mile drive back home. Off to bed I went until Tuesday.
Lumbar sprain. Awesome.
Back to Tuesday morning. I remembered that it was election day as soon as I opened my eyes. I had to vote, so I had to get out of bed. I, with my ridiculous lumbar sprain, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers and pain meds, drove my shoulda-been-bedridden self to the poll and cast my vote like a good American. I even managed to put on jeans and a sweatshirt, which wasn’t easy to do. I was tempted to go in my jammies, but they didn’t match. A girl can’t to out among civilized folk wearing mismatched jammies. I also considered wearing a pair of Mr. V’s slip on shoes, but kayak isn’t the best look for me.
When I arrived at the poll, I remembered the steep incline from the parking lot to the building. Dang. Hunched over as if I were Quasimodo’s long lost cousin, I made my way to the front door. This would be the same front door where a woman in a sleeveless blouse, tight polyester pants and huge plastic jewelry scurried to pass me up, and then closed the door in my face. Thanks a lot. I wasn’t going to say it, lady, but you have wobbly, fat arms, a dimpled butt and a really bad haircut.
She asked for it.
Inside the building, I presented my ID, signed the paper and hobbled up to the little machine. I cast my vote, but I didn’t even get a sticker. I really wanted a sticker.
Driving home after voting was an interesting experience. There was a sense of exhilaration. Excitement. Or maybe it was the pain meds cocktail. Who knows. I did feel like I had participated in helping shape the future of our country. Luckily I only had to drive three blocks, and they were all sparsely populated back streets. I don’t think anyone noticed that I was driving 9 mph and peeking over the steering wheel the whole way.
Tuesday evening, I switched on the TV and started watching the returns. I switched from PBS to CBS to ABC to NBC. I watched Diane Sawyer acting as though she may have been ever so slightly inebriated (still wondering what her deal was). I watched the Twitter feed scroll by. I read hopeful posts on Facebook, and I read just as many that predicted doom.
And then finally it was over, and the President was re-elected.
Voting is a privilege, and one that I ignored for many years. But now I look forward to it each election year. Maybe it’s because I am older, and maybe it’s because media and social media ensures that all of us are inundated with politics on all fronts at all times. I dunno. Although I wished this year that I had voted early, which would have allowed me to stay in bed on Tuesday, I will still likely show up at the poll in person in 2016. Whether or not it is an extraordinary physical feat for me next year, it is extraordinary that Americans are able to express our opinions in a way that counts.