NORMAN — This week, for the second time in my life, I had the privilege of standing in line for an hour and 20 minutes to vote. Yes, I consider it a privilege.
I’m not an early morning riser at all. Personally, I think the work day shouldn’t start until around 10 a.m. Actually, now that I think about it, 11 a.m. would be much nicer. But Tuesday morning, I knew I had a mission that required me to shake the sleep dust off a bit early and get the lead out.
And, now I’m just going to brag on myself, Tuesday morning I was up. My hair was done. My makeup had been applied. Those teeth were brushed. My clothes were put on, coffee was consumed and I was at the polling place by 8 a.m. I was a woman on a mission.
During the one-minute drive to my polling place, I had these fantasies that I’d be the only one there. I’d be the second person in line and I’d be on my way to work early to impress my co-workers with not only my punctuality but my “I voted” sticker. I’m sure when I pulled into the parking lot at the church I vote at, the look on my face was priceless. The parking lot was full. A line of fellow voters had already wrapped around the building. It actually took me longer to find a place to park than the commute.
I’ll admit that my eyes filled up with tears a bit at the sight of so many people in my surrounding area that had the same commitment to vote as I did that cool November morning. They all had the “I don’t care how long this is going to take, I’m going to cast my vote” attitude, too.
I’m not sure I’ve ever met a stranger. So when I first saw that long line, I couldn’t wait to start chatting up a new friend. It didn’t take me long before I found her. I shamelessly didn’t get her name, but we swapped stories and made idle conversation. I admired her turquoise jewelry and she told me she never leaves home without it. She wore a red sweatshirt and didn’t look anywhere near her 70 years.
We eventually made our way to the front of the line, our eyes firmly on our voting prize. Miles of conversation that mostly centered around the beautiful weather that morning or how fast the line was moving were behind us. We stepped into our respectable voting booths and then we went our separate ways. I’m sure I’ll never see my new friend again, but I’ll never forget her face or that turquoise necklace.
When I got in my car that morning to finally come to work, I realized how blessed I had just been. Not only did I get to exercise my right to vote, even if it did take much longer than I had expected, but I got to be touched by someone that had generous eyes, a kind heart and a fondness for turtles. Not a bad way to spend an hour and 20 minutes, if you ask me.