Well, I just exercised my constitutional rights. And it was glorious.
Actually, it wasn’t. I stood in line for an hour, which was fine and expected. The only problem was that the woman behind me would not. stop. talking. I’m telling you, she chatted incessantly, oversharing her entire life to virtual strangers. Thankfully, she wasn’t talking to me, but still, what could have been a pleasant, meditative hour of people watching instead turned into one of the longest sixty minutes of my life. It got me thinking: what will I be happiest about most once I’ve cast my vote? Well, now I have a list, and I hope you’ll relate.
The top 5 Ã¢â‚¬â€ plus more on that woman Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã‚Â after the jump…
5. Not Watching Dogs Crap
Since my polling place is in West Hollywood’s Hart Park, I spent an hour next to a fenced in enclosure watching dogs play. Sounds enjoyable enough… that is until a big ol’ dog squats down in front of you and expunges a fluorescent pile of canine diarrhea. Charming.
Apparently there are freebies galore around Los Angeles today. All you have to do is show your obnoxious little “I Voted” sticker, and voila! Free donut! Perhaps the most widely publicized promotion is at Starbucks, home of the impenetrable lid. People who show their sticker get a complimentary cup of coffee. Sounded like a plan! I already had it mapped out in my head: free coffee and then maybe a little pastry on the side for breakfast. One problem: when I got to Starbucks, they said the promotion only applied to hot coffee. Fine, I could forgo my usual foofy order of Mocha Frappucino. But what if I didn’t want hot coffee? Would it still apply to iced coffee? NO. Even though it’s pretty much the same thing but with ice, I was told hot only. That’s when I said smell ya later and left emptyhanded. Now I’m hungry and thirsty, but at least I have my pride.
3. People taking “Hussein” out of their middle names on Facebook
First, let me say that in general, I’m excited that political activism on Facebook will be dying down (hopefully) by this time tomorrow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to read that so-and-so’s status has been donated to Obama or McCain or Nader or Keyes or whatever. If that’s not bad enough, one of the most annoying trends (sorry friends!) is this habit of putting “Hussein” as a middle name. Look, I don’t want to be a hater or anything, and I know the reasoning behind all the Hussein stuff, but seriously, it’s so damn annoying, and no one wants to say it because everyone’s afraid of upsetting their friends. But I’ll say it. It’s super annoying, and I’m an Obama fan! I’m just glad that by tomorrow, hopefully most of those Hussein people will drop the gimmick. In other news, I’ve now lost half my friends.
2. That woman shutting up
So let me tell you about this woman behind me in line. She felt the need to tell practically her whole life story to some poor lady next to her. I shouldn’t say “poor” actually because I think this other woman actually liked it. Clearly, they were two lonely souls Ã¢â‚¬â€ although, the chatty one claimed to have a boyfriend (who loved horror movies and invited her over to watch all the Saws on Halloween, but she just didn’t want to do it! No siree! She hates horror! But she did hear about this movie called The Dead Girl and that sounded interested, but she just didn’t know.)
Anyway, this idiot (I call her that because, well, you’ll see) first starts talking about how she works at a law firm downtown as some sort of paralegal or contracts administrator. Then she starts babbling about how she doesn’t have a law degree, but she’d really like one because she wants to work on this huge lawsuit with a million documents but without the degree, she has to work that much harder to get the job, even though she’s totally prepared for it because she’s totally worked on large class action lawsuits. Plus, she used to work on Federal death sentence cases, but that was a bit taxing on her because she would become a little attached to the client, and then they’d, you know, DIE. So she moved to civil, which is easier emotionally, but much more boring.
Well, she babbled on about this for a while, eventually discussing the merits of law school, night law school, and school in general. I learned that she doesn’t have a lot of money right now and that she’d love to be traveling, but really, would that be smart? (No, she announced). Plus, in her heart of hearts, she really wants to be a journalist, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. She does, however, do press junkets for the AFI, and omigosh, last night she did one with one of her favorite actors: Mark Ruffalo. She was so star struck that she didn’t know what to say! He stared at her like a deer in the headlights, and now she’s so embarrassed that two of her favorite movies of all time are ruined: Just Like Heaven and 13 Going On 30.
Of course, mentioning 13 Going On 30 kicked off an in-depth analysis of Jennifer Garner’s career, with both women agreeing that they didn’t like her doing serious stuff, but she’s great in comedies. “What was that movie she was just in? Juno?” asked the other woman.
“No,” replied the chatty one.
NO?!? Are you kidding me? Jennifer Garner almost got an Oscar nomination for her performance! This was killing me. KILLING ME.
Well, we were at minute 45 of this banal conversation, and it was still going strong. The woman then talked about how she was just so bad at the junket because the night before she had gone out to drink. I mean, she’d gotten home by ten, but after four glasses of wine “the first two hours of sleep don’t count, right?” SHUT UP.
Chatty then started babbling about Joaquim Phoenix and how difficult he is, noting that with his family “The problems are genetic.” It was around then that the women began talking about movies, and I learned that Chatty’s boyfriend was a horror junkie. Plus, I also learned that she lived in a complex that she affectionally dubbed “Melrose Place.”
“Oh, does it have a courtyard?” asked the other woman.
“No,” she replied. WELL THEN IT’S NOT MELROSE PLACE. I would have gladly taken ten dogs pooping in front of me than listen to any more of this ridiculousness.
Thankfully, I entered the polling station, and I knew I could finally be rid of this awful, awful woman. Or so I thought. Midway through my voting process, the woman took her place at the booth next to me and attempted to take on the ballot. A little context: in California, we don’t have voting booths with curtains and whatnot. It’s just a rickety setup at a table with some low cardboard barriers to prevent people from seeing what you’re doing. Also, our ballot is like a standardized test: we must fill in dots with a special pen (as opposed to flipping switches on a machine).
WELL. This was a bit too much for Chatty to comprehend. She literally turned to me and said, “I don’t know how to vote!” I quietly ignored her, hoping that she’d just leave me alone or at the very least, READ THE VERY SIMPLE DIAGRAM AND INSTRUCTIONS. Seriously. Idiot. And she wonders why she doesn’t get hired for law suits.
What this woman lacked in smarts, she more than made up for in persistence. She actually poked me on the shoulder (isn’t there a law that you can’t touch people while they’re voting? There should be) and asked again how to vote. This was annoying because a) it just IS annoying, and b) I was trying to read the description of a proposition. I tersely pleasantly told her that you just slide the ballot into the designated area, attach it around the two protruding knob things, and fill in the dots.
The woman graciously thanked me, but then two seconds later, she asked, “Do I punch the holes?”
“No, you just fill in a dot,” I replied, a bit more tersely.
“It’s not working,” she said, soon adding, “Oh wait. Now it’s working.” Seriously, this is how Florida happened.
To her credit, she did apologize to me for being such a nuisance, and while I’m sure she’s perfectly nice and sweet, she just talked entirely too much. That’s why when I handed over my completed ballot, I was actually happier to be away from this woman than I was to have finally ended the voting process.
But for my number one thing that I’m looking forward to now that I’ve voted:
1. This election finally being over
I’m so sick of it.
How were your voting experiences? Did you vote? You should.