Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Day

It was quiet at our polling place this morning. We vote at a local cafe / deli that never seems to sell any food but is popular with the older gentlemen in the neighborhood, the ones that otherwise hang on the corner. The pollworkers were pleased to see the little guy and his friend E. going to vote with their mommies (JR likes to push the big green button that signifies that we're finished). We use a touch screen with lights. I miss the old days when the curtains opened after you pulled the big red handle. (Similar to the way I feel about pushbutton slot machines - the thrill is gone when all one does is push a button).

Two disconcerting things - the one pollworker, who greeted JR by name and knows dad from neighborhood political meetings, corrected me when I told the other pollworker my surname, "It's D...," she corrected (stating my husband's name). "I never changed my name," I stated as politely as I could.
Second, there was a person standing behind each of the voting machines, who seemed to be doing something to the machine after JR pushed the green button. JR's dad tells stories of being paid when he was a kid to go behind the machine and pull the big D lever. What were these people doing behind the machines?
(Even though I know I voted the way the rest of the neighborhood will vote - being a Democratic ward in a Democratic city - it was still somewhat troublesome).

JR was quite excited about going to vote this morning, but he asked no questions about what we were doing until bedtime, when we were recounting the story of his day. I recounted how quickly he got dressed and he told me he was "excited" to go vote. Then he asked what a polling place was and what voting was. So there I am, in the dark, explaining that we push the buttons to pick the people we like the best and that the winners get to make decisions about what will happen in our country. "How do we know who we like best?"
"Well, I try to pick the people who will take care of the people in our country, and who will share with the people in other countries."
"So you pick the good kids, right Mommy?"

I hope so.

Tangentially, JR knows his phone number. I was ordering Chinese food tonight for delivery and was stating our number to the order taker on the phone. I heard his little echo, reciting our phone number. Later I asked him if he knew our phone number and he rattled it off perfectly. When does he learn these things?

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