Electioneering by the Book
Posted by: Kaite Stover
I’m standing in line to vote at 5:30 am so I can be reasonably assured that I’ll get to work on time when it happens. It always happens when I have to wait for a while.
No one wants to talk any more about the issues. But they don’t want to stare into their quickly cooling cups of coffee, either. It’s too dark and quiet and everyone is waiting for someone to say something that isn’t election-related and might annoy some of us, because we’re gonna be here awhile.
I pull out my favorite ‘uncomfortable cocktail party silence’ question. I turn to the man behind me and ask, “So, what are you reading?” He widens his eyes a moment, then smiles and says, “I just finished The Farther Shore by Matthew Eck. I’m from Wichita, just like the main character and it was a spooky story about life during wartime. What’s really disturbing is you never find out where the soldiers are, what war they’re fighting, or why.”
The man in front of me turns around to both of us to say, “I read that. It reminded me of The Road by that guy who wrote that movie with that creepy dude with the bad haircut.” I grinned. “You mean Cormac McCarthy.” “Yeah, him. What’s that book that the movie was based on?” “No Country for Old Men.” “That’s the one. Creepy. Bloody. But way cool, you know? I didn’t mind the violence.”
The two men took off comparing recent movies and readings when I felt a tug on my sleeve. It was the first man’s daughter. She’d gotten up early just to watch her parents vote. “I’m reading Junie B. Jones number 9, the one where she’s a crook.” Her mother grinned down at her and told me, “It’s Junie B. Jones is not a Crook. And I’m the one doing the reading, at bedtime. My book group picked up Luncheon of the Boating Party. It was recommended by some other woman in another book group.”
Before I could visibly blanch, one of the poll workers called out, “P through Z! Last name, P through Z! This way, please!” I darted out of the long line and hustled into the polling place. I don’t think I could handle talking about that book one more time this year.
It’s definitely time for a change.