Tuesday, November 05, 2013

From Here On Out...

People seem to enjoy kvetching on the line to vote here.

Well, they do in my district, as witnessed just about every voting day for four years--maybe because this is when the oldsters and/or other European immigrants (traditional, old world, snarf snarf) intermingle with the rest of us, who are happy to be reflected by a Councilman like Jimmy Van Bramer, say.

People here and their kvetching.

The kvetching. Ah, the kvetching.

The kvetching I've listened to for two-thirds of my life here on earth.

I've been patient about it, both in terms of humoring it and not taking it too seriously, but if we're not tight, I don't really want to hear your random life complaints. Now, you might argue these are my random life complaints, and they are, but you're the one sitting here reading them of your own free will.

A voting line is not a blog. A voting line is more like being on the bus than the subway; you can shuffle away temporarily, but can't so much relocate.

A factor in this kvetching seems to be that, upon seeing me, a white person here in the most diverse county in the country, the kvetcher, who has been white in 100 percent of my inadvertent field cases, sees someone they can make racist and/or otherwise crazy comments and complaints to during what is an excruciating two- to ten-minute wait for these privileged excitables, who make me feel like I should just wear an "angry liberal" shirt or something.

"I used to work here," this fresh-yet-dented-faced Euro in her 50s confided, looking around and shuffling like a horse, foot moving. "Used to work at these tables, when they had the booths."

For a second, I thought of my grandmother, who came here in 1932 from Ireland and always volunteered at the election polls, where she was helpful, taking care of business and enjoying talking to people. She beamed telling me about it years later.

"Now they have the wrong machines," dented-faced continues in her droning unappealing way. "And they're all Indians." And yet every play reading with an Indian character I've gone to here has been mouthed by a white guy. An ostensible liberal. Huh. Life is strange.

I wait for her to say something else, and for whatever I'd blat out in return, but she is done, whitey has marked her territory. It's tough for her, though, having to be accommodated by Indian women who are helpful, taking care of business, enjoying talking to people--well, probably not her.

Just as I'd been enjoying not only circling in the bubble for non-Bloomberg but for Bill de Blasio, another kvetcher needed my help--yup, while I was voting, eyeing then gesturing at my pen like I was supposed to hand it to him, which is a bit crazy when you consider the fact that I'm not even his mom and, as I mentioned, "I'm voting."

Of course, you might say this could be avoided if there were booths, like they show on the news, instead of these freestanding tableish structures and then a trip to the scanner (with a scanner man whose attempts to scan my ballot I evaded; I scan my own ballot, scanner man). However, you don't know these kvetchers. Another one found a way to interrupt me in a booth once while I was voting. He just kind of started to push in past the curtain until I said, "Look, I work alone" and he seemed to snap out of it. "Republican" read the sticker on his breast.

Sometimes, people here get so impatient they really do seem like they can't stop, or they're just determined to always be moving, to will forward motion by performing maneuvers like stand as close as possible in a drugstore line comprised of just you and one other person when, clearly, in these situations, there are no crowds or reasons to be jostling people. I think those people do it anyway because they like it, the kind of kids that can pick fights but not win them, oh poor you. Quit racing or, more accurately, expecting everyone else to; instead try and develop some grown-up expectations. Also, don't push strangers then blame it on the crowd, or squawk when you get shoved back; hands to yourself, suit boy (category: rich kvetcher). Life is strange. Vote liberal, and hope they one day use real Indian actors.

Crowd life does get to where I wouldn't be surprised to turn around in the shower and see some stranger there, sighing because I'm taking too long to rinse, like the beauts who sigh into a lady's neck when she is not walking fast enough for them, when she should be racing like a rat because they are (never into a strapping tall man's neck, hmmm), because not trampling the slower-moving older woman in front of me is just like so annoying when, meanwhile, nothing is more annoying than the bad energy bred by all your ugly boat shoes combined.

So, as I told the neck sigher in line behind me for the last presidential vote, try to calm down (relevant future question: will the king of mean's passing help stamp out this "real new yorker" pose?), after he began yelling and being angry three minutes into his wait on the very short line I was on. I also said the rest of us didn't mind waiting, as it, you know, seemed like a small sacrifice when you think about the sacrifices people have made just to ensure us the right to vote. He bitched some more then fell silent. In that non-meantime, that golden silent time between privileged outbursts, I remain my kind of New Yorker. So does Bill de Blasio. And Letitia James.

So there, mean boys & girls: they're coming for your boat shoes.