I vote in a tiny rural town. And even though everyone knows everyone, we go through the official routines of voting: State your name on the way in and state your name on the way out to the town’s older women who take running the polls very, very seriously.
I’m usually voting alone, making the use of the curtain seem absurd. But routines are routines. Today, though, I was lucky enough to have – let’s call him Ned – come in and vote with me.
“State your name?” he was asked.
“Oh Jesus Christ,” he returned, pulling his well-soiled hat off and tossing it on the desk. His hair, more like gray tentacles, shot out in every direction. He was in all flannel, mood and all.
“That’s not your name,” she fired back, without a hint of a smile. Their families have “some history” up here. Which basically means they’ve been assholes to one another. No one’s innocent in small town relations.
“Ned Nordstrom. Independent.”
“All I need is your name,” she said, again with all the warmth of a cold fork.
With their awkwardness complete, Ned settled in behind his red, white and blue curtain, ballot in hand and with a tiny pencil made to look even smaller in his giant-fingered hand.
Ned moaned and mumbled, sometimes slowing it down enough to make it very understandable: “And..for…governor…….there…he…is.”
I was enjoying the show.
More moans from Ned. And then a fist slam against the cheap government-issued voting table.
“Having fun over there?” I asked.
“It’s like shitting sharp stones,” he said.