[From 2015. We got about a hundred times more calls in the city council and especially that school board primary in 2015 than in the presidential primary in 2016. Makes you wonder just how much power the school board has. Perhaps it is limitless and invisible, like that of Robert Moses when he ruled the world, or New York City anyway, leveling whole neighborhoods in a way only Curtis LeMay has ever dreamed of. Urban developing them back to the stone age. But I digress. Besides, only our neighborhood councils have that power.]
After quite literally hundreds of phone calls, a tree’s worth of political mailings and a dozen people knocking at our door to remind me, I forgot to vote. I actually meant to vote. I told all those people at the door I would vote. In fact, I told them I’d vote for whoever it was they were knocking on my door for. They leave faster that way, with no messy arguing or hurt feelings. I even gave some of the thirstier among them bottles of water. I’m a civic minded kind of guy as far as hydration goes. I couldn’t tell you who they were canvassing for though. I probably put their brochures right into the recycle bin. Indeed, I can only name one candidate and that’s only because his name is on a sign the landlady stuck in the lawn. O’Grady or O’Brady. Something Irish. I always vote Irish, as long as they’re Democrat. My grandfather Nelligan taught me that. Other than that I had no idea who I was going to vote for. All the candidates began to look alike in the mailings, earnest and respectable and community minded. Half of them seemed to have taught my children history and civics, not that I had any children, and all of them wanted to be my friend. The phone calls didn’t help any, either, all these robot calls from celebrities I have never heard of. It’s more effective if I know who they are. Wayne Gretzky I wouldn’t have deleted. Or Betty White. Or Tom La Bonge himself, who I’ve been voting for forever. People I’d pay attention to in real life. Otherwise I don’t even bother to listen. Maybe the first fifty or so robot calls I did, thought I began to get irritated. But when I found myself talking back to a state senator I’d never heard of I figured it was time to remove myself from that part of the political debate. Alas, in my haste I was also hanging up on real people. One guy must have called us half a dozen times. I never did pick up. I began to feel sorry for him. Imagine what that does to one’s sense of self-worth. Throwing your heart and soul into somebody else being elected to the school board. That’s how life is for some people. Looking for celebrity in all the wrong places. Meaning like shadows on a wall. Your existence reduced to a voice the rest of us won’t listen to. Weird and existential and disturbing, though perhaps only in Silver Lake. And there’s still a half dozen messages blinking at me now, they must have come in early last night. Of course, at the time I was fixing the washing machine. I don’t know if you’ve ever fixed a washing machine, but the frames are huge and cumbersome and have to be moved around and struggled with, and they make these really cool metallic booming tympani noises every time you move them. The whole neighborhood knows you are fixing a washing machine. (Dryers are a much quieter repair. I just fixed ours a week ago in eerie silence.) Anyway, for a couple hours there I had a beautiful cacophony of metallic washing machine booms going on (you’re scaring the birds, my wife said), and then there was the test washing and the adjustments and the clean up and the ice cold beer and the Kings were winning and I managed to get lost around the end of the fifth century in a vast history of the middle ages and by the time I came out again it was well past eight o’clock and the polls were closed. Oh well. Now when they road diet my driveway, I will have no one to blame but myself.