Sunday, October 5, 2008

the poltics of politeness in pennsylvania

"are you registered to vote?"
pause.
"yes. yes, i vote. i need to make a pin that says, yes, i do vote. please stop bothering me."
"sorry. its the last day to register so there is a lot of us out there."
"i thought it was Monday."
"it tehnically is, but the registrations need to bein by Monday, not just postmarked. so we drive them to the office."
"well, i'm not from here..."
neither am i.
"...but what you all are doing here is sickening. you need music, red white and blue. i registered 3,000 kids."
i think about how to react to theword 'sickening' and decide to swallow my attitude.
"oh, where was that?"
"at my school where i work. but this is just sickening."
she grumbles off with her young daughter in tow and i am not sure why she is so angry.
but i am even more troubled by why i can't shake this interaction.
many people thankedme for volunteering for an almost thankless job, and yet this woman was who i told everyone about.
i try to shake it off and i register three more people making the total day worth 4 new votes.
the question of change comes up in the car.
"do you feel you are making change?"
the eldest of the three responds, "No."
But she still had registered people another two hours after that.
"its not about how it makes us feel."
i think about that and it makes the afternoon a little clearer.
"are you going to come back?"
i still don't have an answer.
"i don't know."
one of thefied organizers thanks us.
"you know, doing this is the only way i can sleep at night."
i consider the thought.
i still don't have an answer, but on the way back, we had to pull over as we all fell soundly into a satisfying nap.

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