I almost didn’t vote yesterday.
Not because I didn’t want to; because I almost ran out of time, and because it seemed inconvenient.
Typically, I early vote. This time, for various reasons, that didn’t happen. So, yesterday was my last chance.
When I got to the polling location late in the day, there was a long line of people (socially-distanced people) waiting for their turn to go in. I had to drive around the parking lot a couple of times to find a spot. At one point, I thought, you don’t have to do this. But then I thought, just keep going.
Once I parked and made my way to the end of the line and realized that I’d be standing outside for a good while on the hottest (so far) day of the year, I thought, you don’t have to do this. But then I thought, just keep going.
And then, when I made it inside and realized that the line of (socially-distanced) people snaked around the corner and back and forth within the building for a bit, meaning that the wait would continue, I thought, you don’t have to do this. But then I thought, just keep going.
In the end, it took me about five minutes to vote, and much longer to wait to vote. While waiting, I didn’t see one person step out of line to leave. I didn’t hear anybody complain. The poll workers did their best to keep things moving quickly. Kudos to them for an efficient operation. Waiting was simply a necessary part of the process, part of the experience.
I’m not sharing this story for some kind of pat on the back. I don’t deserve special recognition. No blue ribbon, no trophy. My choice to vote – or not to vote – is always a very personal decision, affected by a whole lot of considerations. I respect that it’s the same for others. But, I am glad I participated yesterday.
Despite the wait, the heat, the inconvenience, it was ultimately just me. I didn’t know if my preferred candidates would win. But it was me, and my opinions, and my values, and my hopes and dreams and gratitude, and a voting booth.