As I sit here in my Maleficent jammies, sipping green tea and staring at the nine inches of snow I'll be shovelling soon, I think about how "great" it is to be an adult. It's a snow day here - actually, the cities have declared a "snow emergency" (what does that mean? That conditions are favorable for a savage takeover by bloodthirsty snowmen?) so of course, the kids decide not to sleep in (which I think should qualify for institutionalization, but that's just me) - instead grabbing the new package of Oreos I bought yesterday (ironically, they are Spring Colors - like psychotically-colored lard peeps crushed between two cookies) and five juice bags (five? I only have two kids) and disappearing into the play room to play guitar hero for hours.
Where was I? Oh, right, how supposedly, allegedly, awesome it is to be an adult. As you know, yesterday was Super Tuesday and Illinois was one of the states voting. My friend - uber mom, Michelle (I say that with the utmost respect because she's amazing) tells me she's taking her kids with her to see how the voting process works.
I thought that was a good idea. After all, I have my undergrad degree in political science and my father taught American Government, and I did my master's thesis on what I thought newly elected president Clinton would do for the arts - so why not? The sleet had been crashing to earth for about an hour by the time the kids got out of school, but I still decided to give it a run. Margaret and Jack were less than enthusiastic.
Me: Guess what we get to do?
Kids (in unison for some creepy reason) : Go to the toy store!!! (Hmmm. Mental note, go through receipts and see how many times we actually go since that's their first reaction.)
Me: No! (and because I'm a glutton for punishment) Guess again!
Kids (looking at each other and using some sort of telepathy): Ice cream?
Me: No. We're going to vote!
Jack: I'm tired! I need to stay home and play video games!
Me: C'mon! It'll be really cool! This is something you can't even do yet!
We arrive at the polling place, spinning our tires most of the way while I fill them in on the history of voting, the electoral college, and what voting in a primary means. And then I realize, they're right. It is pretty boring. But dammit! It's one of the great things about being an adult!
We walk into the church (which I always thought was an ironic place to vote - but that's just me) and I sign in, get my paper ballot and a sharpie and move to a little, barely partitioned off table.
(Spoiler alert - Because of the nature of this blog - you WILL find out who I voted for. Sorry if it's a shock.)
Me: Here's the ballot, kids.
Margaret: That's it? They give you a piece of paper and a marker?
Me: Well, yeah? Why?
Jack: Where are the lazers?
Me: Lazers? I, um, don't...
Margaret: And where's the giant electronic robot? Don't you have to have one of those?
Me: What? No! Where did you...
Jack: At least tell us there's a tube you send it in - like at the bank!
Me: (Starting to worry about what they're teaching at school.) It's just this. And believe me, I've voted using the machines and other stuff and this is far better. Now, (not letting them ask about the machine part) we have the ballot for the Democratic Party and the first thing we vote for is our choice for presidential candidate. I'm marking Hilary Clinton.
Margaret: She's my choice too!
Me: (Hopefully): Really? Why?
Margaret: Because her last name is Clinton and I was born in Clinton, Iowa!
Jack: Where was I born?
Me: Okay, that is not a good reason to vote for a candidate but let's move on.
I go through all the options. We get to the race for Coroner and I see there's an opportunity here.
Me: There are three candidates for Coroner. I don't know anything about them, so why don't you guys pick?
Margaret: What does Coroner do?
Me: Well, they determine the cause of death of a person.
Jack: So there's blood and stuff?
Me: I, er, suppose. But that's not the point.
Margaret: That's so cool! Let's vote for this one!
Jack (agreeing with her choice): Yeah! Him!
Me: Good. (I color in the oval with the sharpie - which always gives me the sweats remembering the Iowa Basic Skills Test as a kid. Can you have post-traumatic stress from all the testing they do to you as a kid?) Why did you choose him?
Jack: Because he has a good name for someone who deals with dead bodies.
Margaret (nodding): Yeah, and he seems like the kind of guy who could shoot them in the head when they become zombies.
Me (shrugging): Actually, those sound like good reasons.
We finish and the geriatric official pastes "I Voted" stickers on all three of us - which the kids think is cool, since they were breaking the law and voting before being legal. I let Margaret feed the ballot into the machine and we head outside to find Michelle, Conor and Ian coming in.
Margaret: We got to vote for the guy who kills zombies!
Michelle: (raising her eyebrows, justifiably so) How about that?
Jack (to the boys): They got free cookies in there!
Boys: AWESOME! (They run in)
There's a lesson here - maybe voting would be more fun if we looked at it from the eyes of a child. And for voting officials - consider adding chocolate martinis to the freebies given out and it wouldn't hurt to label the candidates in a way that's more fun - like "Slayer of the Undead" instead of "Coroner."
But that may just be me.