The Experience of Voting…and Newspapers

I’ve lost most of today to politics. I neither write about it, nor share my personal beliefs, but I am going to watch the returns. Of course, I will vote, tomorrow. I am numb with thinking about it.

The other day I was talking with a woman who was trying to get people to vote early. She didn’t understand why I wasn’t interested. I said I prefer to vote on election day. She tried arguing that it was better to get it done, just to be safe.

I could see that she was on the cusp of getting militant and so I thought I’d nip it in the bud by explaining that I don’t live in Johnson County, so I’m not eligible. It worked, but got me thinking. There are certain things in life I enjoy because of the experience.

For me, voting on election day is part of the event. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I voted early, I’d feel left out on election day.

When I lived in Germantown, Maryland, I’d buy the Washington Post every day, from a newsstand near GEICO, where I worked to save people 15% on their auto insurance. Actually, I was an analyst. I digress.

Occasionally, I would get a phone call from a telemarketer who would begin by asking, “Do you read the Washington Post?”

“Yes, every day,” I’d say politely.

“Well, you’re in luck, today I can offer you a subscription and have it delivered to your house, saving you time and money.”

“That’s not how I see it.”

There would usually be a silence, as they didn’t have that response in their script. Then they would say something like, “You could save 55% off what you spend, wouldn’t that be nice.”

“No, not really.”

“But what about the convenience of having it on your front porch?”

“If it was on my front porch, then I wouldn’t need to go to the newsstand.”

Thinking they had gotten through to me and smelling a sale, “Exactly! Now, if I can…”

“You say that as if NOT going to the newsstand is a plus.”

“Isn’t it?”

“I start my day, seven days a week, by going to either the newsstand by my job or one near my house, on the weekends. I love it. I like seeing the smiling face of the clerk, I like pulling off my copy from the top of the stack, and seeing what other magazines and papers are available. We don’t really have newsstands in Iowa, much, and this is one of the things I love about living in a large metropolitan area.”

“But it is so much cheaper to subscribe?”

“Don’t you think you’d spend fifty-cents a day, to buy a bit of joy?”

“I suppose,” they would say, knowing they had lost the battle, but probably not fully understanding that they had never really had a chance.

“You are very nice to call, but I will always prefer to pick-up the paper, than to get it delivered.”

They would hang-up and move on to the next potential customer and I would take a small measure of joy in my simple little routine.

I live in a town of 280. No newsstand in sight, so I read the paper on my iPad. Times change, but if I lived in a big city, I would go back to buying the paper, because it makes me happy.

That is how I feel about tomorrow. I’m going to participate. I’ll watch the returns and cheer for my team and on Wednesday, life can get back to normal…unless there is a tie…or Ohio is close. If that happens, it will like drive me bananas. 

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Juliabarrett 1 Like

My husband and I feel utterly disenfranchised this year.  In June our community decided to eliminate most polling places and NOT tell the voters.  Voters were NOT notified.  Apparently we were supposed to vote by mail but we didn't receive any ballots.  When I looked online to find our polling location, the website informed me we were only allowed to vote by mail.  Thus began a quest to get a ballot - down dark deserted alleyways (I kid you not) to find the secret Election Office.  One trip there to retrieve a ballot for myself.  One trip to return my ballot since I was not allowed to return it by mail.  One trip there with my husband (because I knew he'd NEVER find the place) and another trip back with his ballot.  


We are both furious.  Voting needs to be done in an actual polling place and I want to watch my ballot slide into the ballot box.  

And I hate hate hate politics but by God I have a right to vote and I will exercise that right.  I'd prefer to do it on the actual day set aside for voting.

ExtremelyAvg moderator 1 Like

 @Juliabarrett Good for you! I'm sorry it was so difficult to find the place and vote. My town is only 280 people and I've quite literally ran around the entire town, so the jaunt to the polling place/fire department/water bill, is pretty painless.


Brian, nice story. Sometimes the value of personal interaction and the simple joy of experience cannot be value engineered. Cheers, sir.


We just came back to Michigan from Milwaukee after 3 weeks across the pond.  It wasn't a news stand, but we stopped every day at the "FIXX" coffee shop. . . . to check the paper, enjoy a cup of coffee and more than once chat with a writer working on some tome.  There was a "Redbird-Redoak" reading on evening, about a dozen writers and another afternoon a reading by a published author. "The singular adventure of Charles Goodfoote"  Haven't plunged into it yet but id says on the cover, "not recommended for the Clergy or Ladies of a Retiring Nature"   Hmmmm!


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