Delivering the ballot entailed driving into town before this morning's lessons. Of course the Board of Elections is in the new building across town, the one with the all-glass atrium and escalator and shiny new everything, and not the older building in the middle of town I first visited whose pay-for parking lot is a block away. Within minutes of entering the double doors of the correct building, I'm typically yet inexplicably fielding questions. A woman politely demands a clipboard with a sheet of paper to fill out because everyone before her and after her seems to have one. A man asks if he was supposed to bring the documents with him that contain errors in need of correction. The woman in front of me, a newborn snuggling under her chin and another beautiful small child at her side, explains she is in line because she has to see someone in person to correct the last name on her ballot. It was beyond misspelled, a different name entirely. What kind of system requires a mother with no childcare to stand in line for this?
Why did she wait until today to take care of it? I don't know, why did any of us wait until today, or even tomorrow? Maybe we were all still hanging onto the unrealistic hope that we could chuck the entire current system and start over.
Ohio, and in many cases Columbus specifically, has been touted as THE place to watch on several national news broadcasts. Can I be okay with myself if the candidate I support less than the other wins because I cast my vote for a party that comparatively speaking gets no press/money, no matter how in line that party is with my true ideals? How ridiculous is it that I make my decision this way?
And, really, we vote like this??
Risking ridicule for stepping out of line, I hold out my sealed envelope to the man directing citizens to what he hopes is the right place. The envelope reflects, for various reasons, an incorrect last name that matches other incorrect last-name documents, all of which I can finally alter after election day without creating an identity stir. The man steps back, refusing to touch the envelope, pointing to a blue box. I throw it in, turn and join other voters exiting the buildling looking stricken. That's it??
To further my attempts at self-empowerment, I go to the bank to deposit and move money. Having worked in a bank in my former life, at the drive-thru (wait, no drive-thru voting?) I throw several tickets at the teller and wonder if the process I'm using is out of date. No, but cheerily I'm informed that my account with the smallest amount went dormant.
Dormant? To reactivate it, I must come in and fill out some papers. Papers? Or close it.
But I'm very attached to this account! It's the very first one I ever opened, the one I used to squirrel away earnings from jobs that had nothing to do with my college degrees. The pot where I collected enough so I could move out on my own, purchase my car, my harp, my own house, and run my business. I have the account number memorized. We've been through everything together. It doesn't earn any interest at this point, doesn't serve me in any possible way, I've outgrown it. Money is sitting there that would serve me better if I moved it. I can't close this account!
From which space do I make this decision -- practical or emotional? If it's not serving me where it is, and is many ways now inaccessible, why elect to keep it there? One morning I will wake up and know.
On the way home, I drive the road along the river. I stop to walk out on a stone slab I can now access because the water is so low; I'm in the middle of the river, where I can see clearly upstream, or down. The water simply flows past. That's where I want to be.
But I go home and ready my studio for students, one of the rooms awaiting a flooring decision.
My students tell me how the election causes racial fears in their school. Upperclassmen elected to sell candidate-name headbands to raise money for prom. But the student body is afraid to purchase them for fear they'll be jumped after school for being racist.
Times are chaotic -- can we afford to settle?