• civic duty •

Well, I’ve done my civic duty. It’s not as if I’d hoped to see brandished badges, loads of cheering (and/or, jeering) masses, slogan-calling, fisticuffs, but some eye contact, some enthusiasm, perhaps the odd, celebratory, “fist-pumping” in the air, after polling. Nope. Not a bit of it. We are a community. After all, are we not, relatively speaking, just all friends, neighbors, and potential, if not, actual, babysitters, dog-walkers, the odd ride-down-to-the-shop, for the elderly? Porch conversationalists, weather speculationalists, dog/cat, ‘experts’, confabulators, opinion-givers, which is to say, the normal, ‘odd oddity’? (Even I, I’ve done my bit. I’ve watered plants, the indoor variety. I have. It’s my speciality.) So.
Just got back from voting, five hours ago. The lines weren’t long, and the volunteers at Sanford Elementary, our polling place, were efficient and friendly. I don’t know what I expected, but at the very least, something, ‘saucy’. I sort of expected to see colorful campaign buttons and flat, styro-hats, festooned with ribbons, mayhaps, even exuberance of a sort; or, (heaven forbid!) shouting, and, the odd, pithy obloquy: Shakespearian curses, at the very least: but, no, oddly, except for the kindly monitors, nobody would even make eye contact with me. Nobody wanted to fight, debate, or sway me: they just wanted to have their say, and having had that, then, to get on with their day. It was all so, well, civilized. Ordered. Like a well-oiled machine. Huh… In fact, one could say most appeared to have exercised their right, rather shamefacedly, as if we all were a bit, not disappointed, not relieved, exactly, more…as if we had, well, expected something: as if, ‘what was THAT BLATHER all about?’ was the one thing, we couldn’t say.
(‘All that radio, all that TV. Well, it’s just boxes, blaring at us, isn’t it, really.’)
We are, after all, ‘fast friends’, and I’ve never liked having everybody agreeing with me, anyway.
Mostly, it was just,
“Hey. How’s it goin’? Good, you? Okay.”
That’s how it went, mostly.
((Still, having said all that (am I, terrible?), I hope it all comes out, my way.)) %~}
~ Tim Burchfield



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