Ode to the Floater Election Judge
Written by
Anne Parks
November 2012
Written by
Anne Parks
November 2012
Election Day, 2012
4:30 a.m.: An ungodly hour by anyone’s estimation, made worse by a sinus headache and scratchy throat.  Since it is such an ungodly hour, my inner voice that typically tells me not to “go there,” offers a very depraved thought that is somewhere along the lines of, “Well, if I must be there all day – perhaps I can pass my cold to others.”  Give me a break, we all have these thoughts at some point, and 4:35 a.m. in my bathroom, looking at the dark circles under my eyes, and the twisted, ratty matt that is my hair is when I do it.  Deal with it…
5:15 a.m.:
Travel cup filled – check
Lunch packed – check (hope there is a microwave!)
Medicine for the day – check
Snacks – check
5:32 a.m.:
Bag with all the above items (except coffee- or as I like to call it, “the elixir of life”) – left in vehicle in my haste to get into the building on time – check
Long day ahead virtually assured.
The room is filled with approximately 40 other floater judges, as we wait for assignments to come in and send us to various polling places.  So happy I did not leave my coffee in the truck.
8:15 a.m.:  A handful of people have left.  I am now officially awake.  I really hope they have not called my name as I tried to appear fully cognizant reading my book; in all actuality, I was completely zoning out.
9:38 a.m.:  About 1/3 have been assigned.  There are pockets of people striking up conversations and temporary friendships that will last for this day only, and be a mere memory hereafter.  This is one of those moments in time that will be followed with “the woman I sat next to on election day – she was really a nice person – what was her name? Oh, well, no matter” recollections.  Right now, most everyone in the room is engaging in this ritual.  I am possibly the only one who is not.  Well, the guy next to me is not, either.  He has his back to me, using the counter to “do work,” which is what he told someone who tried to engage him in a temporary friendship.  How very non-descript – I expect he is lying (or taking notes about all of us, which is just rude!).  I am at the back of the room, alone, which is odd because I am usually very social and great at the temporary friendship to make the time pass.  Must be the sinus headache.
9:45 a.m.:  Coffee is empty.  All hope is now gone.
10:15 a.m.:  Donuts!  Less excited because there is no coffee – but suffering through like the champ I am in these adverse conditions.
11:09 a.m.:  Meds wearing off.  Am acutely aware that they are sitting in the front seat of my truck, basically ineffective.  Have emailed husband from my iPhone, blaming him.  Later I will claim it was due to  illness. 
The busy man next to me has turned around, apparently done with his “work.”  I discover he is a pastor – not so much from talking to him, but rather the tell-tale collar of the clergy.  Apparently, he was busy.  I endeavor not to judge people in the future, especially ones that seem to have a higher calling, and probably have their calls to the “higher” answered.  Bad juju – probably one step closer to hell. 
11:24 a.m.:  Am in love with a younger man.  He has appeared with two (count them – 2!) boxes of coffee (which is similar to the box o’ wine, but better!). 
Have succumbed to the pastor next to me – we are now temporary buddies.  I am sure I have made a wise decision, as it can only help to have him as a friend, even temporarily, given his occupation, as well as his long-term friends.  He has informed me that if we are not assigned by noon, we are dismissed, but still paid for the entire day.  We are now waiting for noon.
11:58 a.m.:  My new temporary friend keeps looking at the clock, and has informed me we are in the clear, with only two minutes left.  “What could come up in two minutes?”  He is very excited at the prospect of going home to sit, and getting paid for it (because sitting here, doing nothing and getting paid for it is a hardship).
Noon:  Jinxed.  I have broken all temporary friendship ties with the pastor, and will not go to his church.
I head out to my assignment, a 25 minute drive away.  First stop, Starbucks, where I buy two Venti coffees.  Don’t judge me.

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