Election day, part two
Tuesday November 07th 2006, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Non-Knitting

One of my quirks is I don’t do standing very well. Moving around, okay, sitting, okay, but just standing still, I can get faint fairly quickly; it’s a falling-blood-pressure thing. So. Since a number of people seemed to be having problems with the machines, the line of voters was going quite slowly, and I decided sitting down on the floor was better than playing drama queen and getting there less voluntarily.

A poll worker ran to go get me a chair. That was kind of him, and fine. He set it up at the front of the line. Thanks, but no, I’ll stay back here, no reason I should make anybody else have to wait any longer, I’ll do just fine; it was definitely long enough for everybody as it was. The guy insisted. But I’m more stubborn than anyone (I can just hear Richard guffawing) and fine, I’ll stay over here on the floor, then, thank you.

The worker, about my father’s age (80), brought the chair over to me, then. That was all well and good. But I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. It’s not my first such experience, but you never get used to it. I suddenly had him putting his face far too close into mine and telling me how proud he was of me. How brave I was. How special. He went on and on, while I was thinking, What the heck? Who’s he talking about? A few minutes later, I got done voting before my husband did, and the man brought the chair over to me again, and then gave me a repeat performance. Well intentioned, I’m sure, but the acute invasion of space and the over-the-top gushing creeped me out, till I suddenly realized what he was really saying: I am so glad I’ve reached nearly twice your age without having become decrepit and frail. Without having to use a cane like you. I’m so glad I can hear better than you. I’m so glad I can carry a chair to you and show you what a good person I am and show off how strong and healthy I am at my age. I’m so glad I’m better off than you…

Absentee. Definitely go for the absentee next time.

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I was recently listening to an audio book in which a main character said something to the effect that if you had a beautiful complexion and you were talking to someone with dermatitis, you didn’t talk about your complexion. You just didn’t.

I can’t stand in lines so well either. I get tired easily. When I hear people talking about their athletic prowess – because yes, I do hear about that from time to time- I always think over and over again, “What am I, chopped liver?”

Absentee ballot, that’s the ticket.

Comment by Robin 11.07.06 @ 6:47 pm

You know, if you truly cared about how the other person was feeling in that moment, it would show, and you *could* talk about dermatitis or anything you wanted, and the other person could hear it. This fellow could be strong and healthy all he wanted, and that was wonderful. He could be helpful, and that was wonderful. But the screamingly false charm…

When I saw him coming the second time, it was, oh, no, not again. I almost picked up that chair after he gave it to me to move it a comfortable space away. Ten inches is too close! It conveyed a sense of him trying to dominate over his fears by trying to dominate over me. Shame I didn’t have a sock knitting project with me to pick up and hold a comfortable space away from my eyes–you know, the five pointy needles in a scaffolding–arrangement-type thing–because then he would have had to move away quickly. Hey, Kristine out there–maybe I could be talked into doing socks again after all!

Comment by AlisonH 11.07.06 @ 7:14 pm

I should add to my first sentence up there that I’m referencing encounters with complete strangers; interactions with, say, one’s teenagers, always have more elements at hand to have to take into account.

Comment by AlisonH 11.07.06 @ 7:58 pm

I can relate in a small way to your post. There are times when I have to use a cane as my gait is unsteady. I notice that people either avoid you or tend to treat you as someone not normal in any way. They speak to you more loudly as if your hearing is gone or talk down to you as if in pity. You don’t want pity or someone in your space. You just want to be treated as someone who has a stick to walk and is of sound mind. It’s too bad that the man treated you as if he was superior to you but you know who you are and that’s what matters.

Comment by Joan 11.07.06 @ 8:27 pm

When the guy first offered the chair, my husband responded to him by telling him I was deaf, assuming that I hadn’t heard the guy’s offer (I had, but I lost a chunk of my hearing years ago to an aspirin allergy, and he figured it was safer to say that by way of explanation in case I hadn’t.)

So I guess that upped my “special” quotient. My apologies to you for all those who might ever encounter me and then talk loud to you.

So, hey, Joan, know of any cool canes? Mine are all pretty beat up, and I’ve been kicking myself for not buying the one I saw that had had two types of wood that had grown wrapped around each other (hey, wait, I wonder if one was English ivy…!) Very nice, a bit pricey, I passed on it, and have regretted it ever since.

Comment by AlisonH 11.07.06 @ 10:03 pm

UGH! I’ll give you a hug from clear over here…. maybe the distance will help. That’s horrible. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.

Comment by LisaK 11.08.06 @ 3:57 pm

Hahahaa… Sorry, I couldn’t help but add another post. Robin, have you ever noticed that the ones with the “athletic prowess” have to park closest to the door, and that the regular parking rules don’t apply to them?

Comment by LisaK 11.08.06 @ 3:58 pm

If you can’t do absentee, or if you feel like you WANT to push buttons on the voting machine, see if they have early voting. I did that, and it was lovely. In and out in about 10 minutes. I can’t stand in lines for long either; I end up exhausted and woozy.

Maybe you could take a plain cane, and either glue pictures or fake jewels or, or maybe knit a sleeve to go over the cane? You could change the sleeve, and color coordinate with your outfits!

Comment by Serena 11.09.06 @ 3:47 pm

You can now register as a permanent absentee voter here, and I think that’s what I’ll do. Although there is something to be said for serendipitously running into one’s neighbors at the polling place and catching up a bit.

Comment by AlisonH 11.09.06 @ 8:01 pm

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