I’m awakened by an unfamiliar musical refrain from my iPhone. It’s my alarm, but I don’t even recognize it since I hardly ever use it. “Damn. 4:30 already?” It’s election day and I’m working the polls today. It’s our 25th wedding anniversary, but I’ve been a poll worker for about seven years now and the way our county drafts you, they just assume you’re working unless you tell them you are not. By the time I figured out the election was on our anniversary, I felt committed. But, it’s been a shit year anyway. Fuck it. I might as well work that day.
Last night I rushed off to the meeting we do the day before the election. That was two hours. I was coming from another meeting earlier in the day, so I grabbed Chipotle, wolfed it down, ran off to get things set up for today and then back home and early to bed in preparation for a 4:30 alarm. I wake up already in a bad mood.
Election day, for a liberal Democrat in an conservative Republican district is always “interesting”. The election crew is half Democrat half Republican, by law, but the voters are 80-90% Republican where I work. I alternatively get to hear them crow about how proud they are they have ID and have been presenting it to vote since the were 18. I want to pull them aside and explain to them not everyone is a middle aged Midwesterner and a driver, but, I have to bite my tongue. Others test us. They won’t pull out their IDs until we ask. Then they respond “Thank you for asking” because they are convinced we are saving the integrity of the system by making sure we ask for ID. Then, we have the ones with the more Libertarian bent. They usually are registered as “Declined to State” or “No Party”, but not always (I don’t know if they know we know that). They will give you a part of their address when you ask them to state it or they won’t give their birth year. They make you drag every bit of information out of them. They ask “Why do I have to sign my name. What am I signing for?” They’ll point to their license and say “Everything you’re asking me is there.” I want to say “Well, yeah, I know but because you nuts think everyone else is cheating, we have to actually ask you to state what is printed on the driver’s license you just handed us. If It were up to me, I wouldn’t ask you all of these questions.”
As a seven year poll worker, I am one of the most experienced. And, not to brag, I’m pretty good with technology and systems. So, I usually end up taking a leadership role. Because of the rules of our county or the state, I’m not sure which, I have never been (and probably never will be) a Location Supervisor. In fact the last two elections I’ve been just a regular poll worker, but people keep coming to me for advice all day and when I see people struggling, It quickly becomes obvious I know what I’m doing so everyone starts looking to me to lead. I just have to step in to help. I want to get out of here on time, make sure everything is done right and make sure every vote counts. We have some real doozies working with us this time. They are out of control, but not my circus, not my monkeys. At the end of the day, I tell the supervisor if he has these people next year, he might not want to put them on that job. I’m not likely to be back.
All day long there is tension. Who will ask about my family? What will I say? Will I say I have one daughter or two? None of that comes up. I speak with the lady I’ve been partnered with most of the day, but the conversation goes toward Kayla and Shayna (or any other children), don’t come up. So, I just let that go.
Finally, 8:45 PM rolls around. I’ve been here for 15 hours. We’ve got everything tied up and ready to go and it’s time to head home. I’ve seen Ty for all of about 20 minutes today. I stopped by for lunch and had homemade chicken soup. Breakfast was McDonald’s. Ty’s at a grief group meeting. So, I’m on my own for dinner. I kind of want pizza. Little Caesar’s is on the way home and it’s $5.00 and ready. I stop in an pick up a pizza. Quick plug for Little Caesar’s. It’s as good as Papa John’s (which I know is not good) and it’s fast. One of my pet peeves about fast food places is the prices have crept up and the food is no longer fast. I’ve only had Little Caesar’s twice in this hot and ready format. I walk in. Order a pizza. Pull out a $5.00 bill and I’m out the door in under a minute with more food than I can eat.
I get home, open a bottle of wine and eat my pizza. But, first I have to let the dogs out because if I don’t, I know as soon as I start eating they will go to the door. Ty calls. She’s on her way home. She gets home and starts talking about Kayla and her plans for the coming weekends and Thanksgiving. I just can’t right now. Dealing with anything past tonight is more than my tired brain can take. When I”m like this, I can’t think even a day out. Our friends text. They want to have dinner on Friday. Fine. Friday is three days away. Can’t deal with that either. They want go to go an expensive restaurant and we’ve been bleeding money, but I can’t deal with that right now either. So, the answer is always “Yes for now.” When I’m in one of these moods. Everything is annoying to me. Everything makes me angry. I have to remind myself not to snap at Ty for just normal conversation. I’m tired. Just ready for bed. I hear there was some commotion with Hamilton County and the election and I wonder how the marijuana bill went, so I will myself to stay up until 11 to catch the news. It’s just all “Blah… Blah… Blah” in that Charlie Brown’s teacher voice. I turn it off and try to get to to sleep. I tell Morpheus. “The blue pill tonight. Please. I just want to sleep. I don’t want to think. I don’t want to dream. Just sleep”
Around 1 o’clock I wake up. My stomach is weird. I am not sleepy. And I just feel like crap. I’ve eaten horribly today. I haven’t meditated. I didn’t exercise at all. I feel so bad I can’t get to sleep. I have two cardinal rules for insomnia. The first is never look at the clock. The second is never get out of bed. But, I can tell this is a time to break them. I get up and go downstairs and take some notes. I have to break this cycle. I head back to bed and find the sleep that has eluded me.
At some point I have this dream. I’m on stage, but I’m surrounded by “people” These aren’t physical people, they are energy beings. I am an energy being. I can feel them surrounding me and supporting me. There is also an audience. I am being praised and given an award for all that I have accomplished in my life and I’m just drinking it in. I can feel their virtual hugs. At the same time they are praising me, they are healing me. I am bowing deeply from the waist, honoring and thanking them as they are praising and healing me. It’s the best welcome ever. At some point my friend Robert is there (whom I have never met). He gives me a big hug and words of encouragement. I am crying uncontrollably. Happy tears. I wake up and I start crying- real physical tears. But, these aren’t happy tears. These are tears of missing Home and disappointment at waking up again back in this world, your world. It’s not mine anymore. I’m just passing through. I cry a bit and fall back to sleep. Tomorrow is another day and I need to be ready.
A few days ago a revelation came to me. I believe that when I am sleeping I often visit spiritual realms. I think we all do. Not every night, but sometimes our spirits leave our bodies and visit other places. This was confirmed for me in something I heard in a Podcast a couple of days later.
So that was my 25th anniversary. Hardly saw Ty. Got up at 4:30 in the morning and sat in a freezing cold room for 15 hours. Ate terrible food and didn’t get to exercise or meditate. Pretty much par for the course for this year. What else would I expect?