Voting this year takes on fresh importance. I am in a new community, one I adore and, for the first time, one that I have chosen, rather than the other way around. Like my first video rental, my first block party and, some day, my first mugging, my first election is an important step from "newcomer" to "resident."
I start the morning with some online research. In minor races in the past, I have voted at random. But this year, I want to be informed. This year, I ... I guess I care. Transients can be glib with their votes; I can't.
Twenty minutes later, I'm ready: I shower, shave and, for only the fifth time this year, put on a tie. The tie is Ted's idea, and I think it's a good one. This is indeed a day for decorum, and if we respect the process, perhaps one day the process will again respect us.
"Is that legal?" I ask.
"This. So close to the voting booths."
"The booths are down the hall. I'm more than 100 feet away."
"Pretty sneaky!" I say, wagging my finger at him. (What, after all, is the act of voting but finger wagging writ large?)
In the lobby, elderly men argue in Polish. Down the hall, an election judge with "hippie" strangely scrawled on her left hand, God only knows why checks me in.
The first choice is for president. I had expected the contest between fear and conscience to have been decided long ago, but it plods on into extra innings. I pause and consider one last time. Fear. Conscience. Fear. Conscience.
And with a thud I love the visceral rush of punching the ballot, like pulling the pin of the guillotine conscience wins.
The rest of the votes are a breeze.
It's going to be great.