Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I took Alex voting one year. We got to the polling place and she wanted to know where all the votes were. She wanted to ride on a vote.

That's the only semi-amusing voting anecdote I have.

Where I vote they read your address aloud, three times, before they give you your ballot. That way people around you can try to match you to your neighborhood (at least that's what I do). It also sparks conversation. "I'm your new neighbor," a lady once said to me after my address was read. She had just moved into the big Victorian down the street. "We just moved into the big Victorian down the street," she told me. "Everyone calls me, Bird," she added while extending her hand. I shook her hand and probably welcomed her to the neighborhood or something.

I've never spoken to Bird since. It's probably the name. Having a nickname like Bird isn't all that strange. However, making sure everyone you meet calls you by your eccentric, probably applied during childhood by an obnoxious uncle, name hints at weirdness. I'd be afraid Bird might want to talk about her repressed childhood memories of being force fed marshmallows and sardines during her boarding school days or something. So I haven't really attempted a casual, neighborly conversation yet. Plus, she lives way the hell down the street. Most days I'm lucky if I make it past my mailbox.

The big issue facing voters this year is "smart growth" which is a euphemism for should we let them build a big ass Wal-Mart on the outskirts of town? Many people are certain a big ass Wal-Mart will destroy the character of our fair city. A big ass Wal-Mart will wipe-out all the small businesses that currently reside on Main Street. A big ass Wal-Mart will attract loads of traffic and unsavory elements to our community.

The girls and I made our way through the line without speaking to anyone this time. That is until we got to the last volunteer. She asked Allie if my first name was Gregory. "I don't know."

"What street do you live on?"

"I don't know."

"What city do you live in?"

"I don't know."

"What state do you live in"

"United States of America"

The volunteer looked up at me with a look that said, "It's really too bad about your daughter, sir. But at least she's cute. She's got that going for her."

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