Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Voting: Very important

I told Ulysses I was going out to vote last evening -- did he want to come with me? To my surprise, he said, "Okay!" He's been cabin bound nearly all winter, rejecting almost every suggestion, exhortation and command to venture into the coldest, snowiest winter in Wisconsin history.

This time, though, he said, "Beep, beep! Ride in the green car. Okay!" So we bundled up and rolled off into the quiet dark, passing the snow-banked yards and medians until we came to the bustling parking lot of the Warner Park Community Recreation Center, our voting place. The tall evergreen by the entrance was draped all over with tiny, blue lights.

"Mama!" said Ulysses. "A Christmassy tree!"

As we were exiting the car, I offered to put on his hands the gloves I've been carrying in my handbag all winter, in the hopes he'd wear them. He wore mittens when he was a baby, but has refused mittens and gloves for the last few years. It puts quite the damper on any chance for snow play. He surprised me again: "Glubs? Okay!" His fingers wriggled unceasingly and unhelpfully, but his face was serene as I worked five-finger gloves onto his hands for the first time ever.

In the polling room, he followed me to the booth, asking, "What doing, Mama?"

"I'm going to vote now."

"Vote," he echoed.

I positioned my paper ballot on the booth's writing ledge. "It's very important."

"Very impor-tat. What doing, Mama? What doing?"

Marking my choices, I answered, "This is how everybody decides what to do."


We walked to the ballot receiving machine and I offered him the ballot to feed into the slot. "In the old days, someone told everyone what to do. Now we all decide together," I said.

He pushed gently at the paper until the rollers engaged. "Yay! We did it!" he exclaimed as my vote disappeared into the monolithic casing of the ballot machine.

I thought about what, if anything, to say next. That in plenty of the world, it was still those old days? That even here and now, plenty of people want to tell everyone what to do?

"I voted!" I said.


No comments:

Post a Comment