So yesterday was election day here in the UK.  We were voting for MEPs and local councillors.  At least I think that’s what we were voting for.  The whole build-up to the elections thing completely passed me by and it was only because a friend posted on Facebook that she had voted that I remembered it was today.  I don’t object to voting, quite the opposite in fact, I think we should vote because frankly there was a time not too long ago where many people didn’t get to vote, so I figure since we can, then we should. Plus which I am Greek.  Imagine being a Greek who doesn’t eat olives doesn’t eat fish and doesn’t vote.  I’m telling you, I would be de-Greeked quicker than you can say Opa!  or some other Greek cliche.

I don’t necessarily believe in the power of the people.  I have for example never voted for anyone who has actually won an election, but that might be because I don’t consistently vote for one party, or feel strongly enough about it.  Maybe if I placed my x in the box with more belief, then the people I pick would get through.  It might be precisely because I actually make up my mind in the polling station that my vote is rarely significant. 

Anyway, I called my sister up and we arranged to meet up at the polling station as it was on her way home from work.  It was in a building next door to her old school, and well signposted.  We walked into the building, and there was a sign saying voting upstairs.  We went up a flight of (steep, winding) stairs, and on the landing saw another row of arrows pointing upwards.  After the second landing, I was starting to realise that I should have done some sort of fitness training in order to claim my vote.  Every step I took seemed to be telling me “You wanted to vote, now work for it woman.”  On the third landing, I thought If we ever make it to the top, I’m voting for Rapunzel.  Finally we arrived at the top of the world building, and I paused to catch my breath.  There was a man wearing a blue rosette collecting card numbers and then we walked into the room.  There were 5 booths, two ladies sitting at a table and another man whose job it was to make sure you were putting the correct ballot papers into the correct box.  The two boxes were clearly marked, it would have been very difficult to mess up unless you were so visually impaired that you were unable to tell the difference between yellow and white, and large and small.

Image

There were stairs, obviously. We didn’t have to use the hair.

I was under the impression that elections were semi-serious things, so as well as my polling card, I had also brought my driver’s licence as a form of photo ID.  I assumed that you would have to provide some form of identification.  I approached the ladies at the table and handed over my polling card. 

“Thank you.”  She looked through her list.  “Oh yes, here you are.”  She took the polling card from me.  “Could you please tell me your name and address?”

I told her my name and my address, replacing the town and postcode with etc.etc. I wasn’t sure if she needed the whole address or if she just needed the essentials.  She smiled and nodded and then said:

“Sorry, I know it seems a bit silly doesn’t it, it’s a form of ID check, that’s why we asked you to do it.”

“That’s fine,”I said, “Phew, I passed the test.”  Both ladies laughed. “Although obviously not the physical test as I only just got my breath back.”  More nervous laughter, I think they had handled some abuse already in the day, because they were very wary of me.  I put on my friendliest face, and took the two papers to go and decide on how to vote. 

The thing about voting is that you can never vote for just the policies you like.  You have to vote for one party and that means you always end up voting for something you don’t want.  I mean, we all want to better/save/preserve the environment, but clearly this is not enough to make people in their millions vote for the Green party.  Anyway, I read the ballot paper, voted, took my ballot papers and put them into the clearly marked boxes with the guy staring at me willing me to mess up so he could actually move from the seat he had clearly been glued to all day, and waited for D to come out. 

D then informed me that I had a problem with authority and that I had been bullish and aggressive when I had given my address to the ladies. That had not been my intention at all, as I did not object to giving my name and address.  I said etc. because I felt silly giving the whole address to someone who was holding a card with my whole address on it.  Also, really?  This is the big ID check?  Please repeat information from a card that you had in your hands up until 30 seconds previously? If I had wanted to steal someone’s polling card, it would not have been difficult to pass myself off as them.  (I didn’t do this obviously, apart from anything else, I do not have the physical fitness required to vote more than once.) In truth, D is right, I do have a problem with authority, and it has reared its head in my later years.  Maybe it is a response to years of blindly obeying parents, teachers, etc.  Now I don’t.  I question everything.  It is this ‘problem with authority’ that means I am incapable of following a recipe or indeed the satnav. 

As we descended the endless circular staircases to get back out into the open air, and our bodies adjusted to being back at a normal altitude above sea level, we reflected upon the enormity of what we had just done. 

“Thank goodness I remembered we were supposed to vote.” 

“Yes, thank goodness because I have been telling my friends who have been telling me to vote all day that I never even received a polling card.”

“I feel better now that we have exercised our civil rights and civic duty.”

“Me too, and we now have buns of steel which is an added bonus.”

That said, we walked home feeling suitably accomplished.  

Advertisements