Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Blame the truck. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I've got some diverse friends. I hang out with a few different groups of very different people and rarely feel uncomfortable. I like to think I can find something in common with almost anybody; I like friendly people, and it's easier to be friendly than to act all judgemental and refuse to talk to someone who might see some things a little differently.

I just like friendly people, I really do. I can usually find something to talk about with almost anybody -- cars, music, restaurants, books, sick humor. I understand that certain concepts just won't work with certain groups; a circle of Baptist women probably won't take kindly to sick humor; but my "Girls Night" crowd will probably bust out laughin' and throw a little sick humor back at me. If I can find something in common with someone, I can usually ignore the other things that might make some folks back away. If I can talk with someone about something we share; a memory, a book, an activity -- I don't really care who they vote for or who they sleep with or what color they are or if they refuse to eat meat.

Sure, I can probably say something that would piss people off, but I'd rather make 'em laugh. I don't mind answering questions or making conversation, but I'd prefer not to argue.

One night at dinner with The Girls, before the Primaries, I popped off a little something that got me a table full of shocked faces; that night, I decided I'd better be very, very careful who I shared my political views with. I was a little stunned to hear someone say "I'm a woman, of course I'm voting for Hillary!" and I was even more stunned that there were no shocked faces aimed her way. After that, I decided I should just kept quiet 'til the conversation turned to pets or crafts or food.

Sure, I have friends who are voting the same way I am, and I love to talk with 'em -- I also have friends who are not voting the same way I am, and I still love 'em just the same. I'm just not interested in arguing, so let's talk about something else. That guy who thinks he's always right about everything shows up here every now and then; I give him the ol' "smile/nod" quite a bit, especially when it comes to politics, because I just don't want to deal with it. My own Mom, who is not registered and does not vote, has been all over me about my choices for this election -- I hear enough arguments at home, I'm just not interested in dealing with them anyplace else.

Last night I heard a little teaser for a news piece about something like "what your car says about how you vote." I remembered the teaser right about the time I put my three hundred dollar Mark 8 in park at the little church where I go to vote, and I kinda wished I hadn't missed it. I waited in line behind four people; the folks who run my particular polling place have been doing their jobs for several years and they were really smooth at movin' 'em on through. There were a dozen or so people at the kiosks filling out ballots, but I was in and out in under ten minutes, even with reading through the four state questions. When I was finished, I went back out to my car, sat down in my tan leather seat, and stuck my little "I Voted" sticker on my shirt. Still wondering what my car might "say," I drove on to work while trying to make sure I didn't end up with chocolate milk on my shirt too.

This year, my little sticker has stayed put because I finally grew a brain and stuck it on my right side instead of my left where the purse handles, laptop bag strap, and seatbelt all rub like crazy. It was still there at lunchtime, when I agreed to make a run to Sonic because surely some tots won't kill me, I did have a fairly light breakfast. My car was blocked in, so I ended up heading out in My Dad's truck. Dad and I tend to share political views, but he also forgot to watch the news piece, so nobody has any idea what his truck "says" either.

At Sonic, I ordered lunch for the four of us, and since it was on special, it included four drinks. I sometimes wonder about carhop (or drive-thru worker) logic; I could see 'em handing the drinks through the window one-by-one if I had a station wagon or minivan full of people to hand 'em off to, but sometimes they're just not thinkin' about one single person taking lunch back to everybody else at work. I'm not usually unkind when it comes to tips, but no drink carrier means no tip. Today, I was impressed, 'cause when the carhop came out, she handed me the three Cokes and one Diet Dr Pepper in the cardboard carrier with the handle on top. Schweeet! A thinker! She saw the one person in the short-cab pickup takin' lunch back to three other people! I was really thinkin' I'd let her keep the change, which was better than twenty percent and over five bucks.

I sat the cardboard carrier shotgun seat to prop it against my purse so it wouldn't lean too much, and as she handed me the two sacks of burgers and tots, she saw my little sticker. As I handed over the money, she asked who I had voted for.

I have no idea what got into me. Maybe it was the boldness of chatting with a couple friends who had made the same political decisions as me. Maybe it was knowing that My Dad had voted the same as I had. Maybe it was Dad's truck. Maybe it was NPR. Who knows...

For the first time since this whole campaign got started, I gave my honest answer instead of just keepin' quiet about it.

Whups. I guess that wasn't very smart.

She just shook her head as she counted out the change, and as she put it in my hand, she said "Oh well, we can't all be perfect."

I was so shocked I had no idea how to respond, but I can tell ya one thing for sure, bein' pissy made that tip money go straight back into my purse.

Maybe I'll spend that money on something cute tonight while I'm avoiding the media frenzy that'll surely be all over television. I really don't plan on watching -- I said a little prayer and marked my ballot, that's all I can do, watching the TV won't change a thing, so I'll probably be looking through baskets of yarn or shelves of model cars instead.

Most of my friends have a pretty good idea who I voted for and would probably not act all pissy about it one way or another... If a total stranger is going to ask me a question, I think I'd rather have 'em ask me what kind of tampons I prefer.

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