Personal Electoral Nostalgia: I became an American citizen on April 17, 1975. I voted in my first presidential election the following year. No, I did not vote for the peanut farmer, but I did stop in Plains, Georgia while traveling cross country at the time, and bought some Billy Beer, just to say I did. I have been proud to vote in every election since. I do it for the sticker.
So last night we dutifully went to our local polling place thinking we were going to pop in and out. Wrong. The line wrapped all the way around the school building. We hesitated, but then Amy & I decided to hang in there for as long as it took.
That’s a long time to stand and wait. Obviously I have a high value for voting… but it’s a lot more fun when you can do it with someone who shares your sense of humor – in two languages.
When I was growing up this was the best part of having 4 sisters. We would switch back and forth between English and Spanish. It was our own code. This bilingual code continued through junior high and high school where my best friends were also Cuban Americans.
And now, I share it with Amy.
There was just too much weird stuff happening to NOT comment on. Eavesdropping on people’s conversations totally told us which way they were voting. I know. It’s probably really wrong on some level. But they were all talking SO LOUD – some on cell phones. And then the instructions they gave us on how to use the ballot machines were in CHINESE! No verbal explanation given. Was everybody OK with this?? Everything was begging for commentary. Amy and I were in bilingual hysterics. We realized a little belatedly that we, too had become part of the Polling Place Freak Show.
Did I care? Nope. This was just another way to share my values with my daughter and we made a memory. She’s an adult now and has a good head on her shoulders, even if she did try to organize a patriotic sing-along in that interminable line. And, by the way, she’s great company….. in both languages.
In spite of all the fun we had and having hung in there for as long as it took …. I think I’ll vote absentee next time.