08 June, 2010

Pollyanna Is Old Enough To Vote

The puppy awoke me at 6:00 a.m. and I really could have used a few more zzzz's.  After the morning furry care ritual, I was ever so tempted to go back to sleep. Yet, it was a beautiful morning and I made the 'higher call' of staying up and reading more of Don Miguel Ruiz' "The Voice of Knowledge" and doing my spiritual practice.

It was a wise choice.
My day proceeded to unfold in easy and wondrous ways.

On my way to work, I made sure I went to vote in the California State Primary.  To be perfectly frank, I did not have a huge interest in this election and I didn't even read my ballot pamphlets till breakfast this morning.  The simple act of walking into a polling place with the opportunity--no, privilege-- of voting buoyed my spirits in a way beyond measure.

I noticed that there was a lighter spring in my step.  This certainly was not my first election; nor as I have said, an election of great interest or passion.  Yet, I was almost goofy-giddy when I got to the table to sign in and the precinct volunteer asked me if I wanted a paper or an electronic ballot.  My green consciousness wrestled with that for a brief moment.  She saw my distress and reminded me that it was already printed so I might as well go ahead and use it for a good cause. I was privately delighted with that information because I did prefer to complete my ballot by hand.

The crowning moment is when you turn in the ballot and a volunteer hands you back your stub and the little red, white and blue, "I Voted!" sticker -- which  I promptly placed in the middle of my shirt for all the world to see.

When I arrived at work it was a similar situation because we loan out our church every year to the State for a local polling place.  I admit that in addition to my own personal pride for my voting sticker, I wanted  to ensure that the precinct team at our building knew that I had already voted and supported their work.

The rest of the day's tasks and activities still felt imbued with that extra bounce. It was enriched by the chance to view a vacant building site that I feel is really a good fit for our new church. Eager and enthused by the visit, I was also amazingly clear and calm.  That clarity and confidence infused the rest of my office tasks till it was time to leave the building in the full care and keeping of the volunteers awaiting the evening voters.

Last night, after a lengthy board meeting, I went back to my church office and I noticed that the building had been fully set-up by the crew in preparation for the polls opening today.  In an odd, bureaucratic way, it was like Christmas Eve.  All the stockings...er, polling booths were hung with care and the patriotic 'decorations' were all in place.  I understood and respected the sanctity of the process and the set-up (which is why we held our meeting off-site) and that sparked in me a whimsical desire to be anything but grown-up.  It reminded me of one of the very few times I did something very atypical for a good-girl like me.

We were probably no more than seven or eight years old, and my friend and I thought it would be neat to hide out till after closing in the local mortuary and we let ourselves get locked in.  It was one of the most daring and rebellious things I ever did as a kid.  After the novelty of it wore off, we were both kinda freaked out and somehow we managed to get a phone call out to one of our mothers and was rescued without much trouble.

Being in the building that was supposed to be locked up and off-limits to the public,  felt similar somehow.  In the darkness, aware that no one was supposed to be there, I appreciated the desolate quietness of our church building in a different way.  And then I gave way to my anti-establishment teenager and began to sing at the top of lungs as I walked down the hallway.  In the scheme of things, this was not a very brash or bumptious bit of behavior because I knew no one could hear me and my actions held no consequences.  I amused myself as I locked up and went home.

Then today, as I walked the same hallway to and fro the restroom or the kitchen, I watched the hustle and bustle of the volunteers serving the citizens who came to vote.  When I saw that there was a lull in the activity and no citizens were in line or casting their votes, I broke into a full skip knowing that the volunteers might just have caught a glimpse as I skipped past a pillar or two and offered them a moment of bemusement.

Last night, at the close of the board meeting I explained to one of the trustees why we had to conduct our meeting off-site as were not allowed to be in the building to ensure the voting materials stayed untouched.  He found that interesting but commented that he had already voted by absentee ballot as it was easier that way.  I guess I can understand that act of pragmatism.  What I couldn't understand is how he would replace the singular joy of being in the atmosphere of democracy and change and empowerment.  Perhaps it's a combination of my George M. Cohan Americana coupled with my spiritual beliefs that my intention makes a difference, I wouldn't miss a chance to vote; or to thank those tireless poll workers for doing their civic duty for our country.

Oh, say can you see . . . 

City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...