“I wonder what happened to my mail-in ballot,” I mused to the woman standing behind me. “I have been looking for it for weeks but, to the best of my knowledge, it never arrived.”
The conversation centered on my missing ballots for a moment or two. Someone hypothesized that I was not on their mailing list… “No,” I responded. “I received the mailed ballot in June for the Primaries.” Was it Post Office incompetence? Who knows but probably not… I concluded the conversation with the suggestion that my occasional-mail-gathering-sometimes-less-than-careful children had probably dropped them in the driveway or something. Oh well.
Lance did not join the conversation.
Earlier in the day Tanah texted me, “Where is my mail-in ballot?” I told her I had never received them and she responded “Crap. Crap. Crap.” The mailed ballot’s failure to reach our home cost Tanah her chance to vote. I related that story as well.
Lance was silent.
Forty-five minutes later we were still in the same line. We’d advanced a little but had not yet made it inside the building….and the line segment inside the building was two times longer than the line extending outside. It was shaping up to be a long night.
A clean cut, conscientious man with a mail-in ballot in hand, approached and asked about the necessity of standing in the line to deposit his form. “Go inside and ask,” we advised him. His query catalyzed a general announcement. “If you have a mail-in ballot,” the official’s voice boomed through the crowd, “you do NOT have to wait in line. If you have one in your car, go get it. If you have one at home, think about going to get it. You can simply walk to the front of the line and deposit it in the box.”
Lance broke his silence.
“Uh.....our ballots are in my mail box at home.”
“Why don’t you go get them?” he suggested. Leaving him in line, I somewhat graciously (and somewhat not) went home and got my ballot. I also got Chick’s and Tanah’s ballots. I returned to the polling station, walked to the front of the line, dropped my ballots in the box, and decided to graciously greet my husband before leaving the building.
I found him in line, having moved forward a significant amount in the time I’d been gone but still far from the front.
“Did you bring my ballot?” he asked me.
No. No. I did not. I had actually thought about bringing his ballot but decided not to. Though it made no sense to me—why he would want to stand a LONG TIME in line to cast his vote rather than submit a paper ballot—it seemed to me voting in the booth was what he wanted to do. If he had wanted to use his mail-in option, then why did he remain in line when I left? Why didn’t he just come with me? Though I did not understand his reason for wanting to cast his vote in the voting booth, I accepted it. There are lots of things he does—like throw his dirty clothes in a pile in the corner instead of in the dirty clothes basket—that I do not understand but that I have come to accept (mostly). So, no, I did not bring his ballot.
“No,” I said.
“I guess you are teaching me a lesson,” he quipped.
No. Not that either. My decision not to bring the ballot was not vindictive nor did it have any educational motive. I simply did not think he wanted it. He would have me end the previous sentence after the fifth word, maintaining that I simply did not think. But I did think. A lot. I just did not think accurately.
Eventually we reached the same page, so to speak, on the ballot issue. Communication (or miscommunication as the case may be) issues overcome, we both returned home. He filled out his ballot, returned to the polling station, and cast his paper vote and I went to a Young Women’s meeting, late but still in time to be marginally useful.
We came together and we cast our ballots. As did millions of other Americans.
And the ballots were counted.
And now it is time for our nation’s communication (or miscommunication as the case may be) issues to be overcome, for us to come together.
I am cautiously hopeful for America. I really am. I hope we will work toward unity, that we’ll be together forever, strong in diversity and powerful under God.
I have no hope for our marriage. I really don’t.
I have not hope because I have knowledge. I know we will continue to work toward unity (dirty clothes piles aside), that we’ll be together forever, strong in our diversity and powerful under God.
God will bless our marriage.
May He bless America too.