Thursday, March 12, 2009

Plenty of Levity… But No Brevity!


By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.


As I stood in the line this morning waiting to vote, I was surprised at the levity and good humour that people exhibited.

Most people in my line appeared to be frustrated at how slowly the line was moving. They were particularly perturbed because the other line was moving much more quickly. As I understood it… one line was ‘greased’ with molasses and the other was greased with tar! Our line had the tar – yet people were very respectful of each other and quite jovial! There was levity… but certainly no brevity!

One loud individual indicated that he was in a hurry to vote because he wanted to go back home so that he could watch the process unfold on television. He wanted to see the politicians ‘sweat’, pace back and forth, wring their hands, and smile at people they never saw before.

“This is the last time for five years that ah we will see dem act like if ahwe important,” he said. “As the day go by, me will get more fun as the candidates become more and more frightened.”

As I stood in the senior citizen’s line with my 94 year old mother, he remarked “Me go fine some ole somebady for hole onto… so me can get outta this line yah quick!” Then he began to address some of the senior citizens as granny and mammie and even auntie!

So, as people patiently waited to take care of this serious business of voting, they were entertaining and entertained.

But the lines moved slowly… too slowly! Once you got inside the process was smooth… although some people stayed in there for over 15 minutes! Getting inside was the problem. And then there were those people who tried to find some reason why they should be given preferential treatment. Some of those I can understand… like my 95 year old mom.

I certainly don’t understand why police officers in uniform were given the advantage of being allowed to vote as soon as they showed up! They are working people like everyone else… the rules apply to them too! Unless you are over sixty then you stay in the line like everyone else. Except in my case – of course – where I had brought my mom, I then was given the courtesy of voting after her.

This was one of the only times that my mother claimed her senior citizen status… normally when we say that she is 95 she responds that we have numbers backward… Of course her legs and knees began to hurt after standing in the line… even the senior citizen’s line for one hour! There were no seats in the area to accommodate her… She had to stand!

But the light banter that flowed through the crowd helped people to manage waiting. As one of the candidates passed by, one of the people in the crowd shouted: “Me in this line since 5 O’clock, this ya no “cute” taaaaaaall!” Everyone had a bellyful on that one – even the candidate!

The other candidate brought a voter whose hand was in a plaster. The polling clerk who was guarding the door looked at her hand… examined the cast… and pushed her to the head of the line – even my 94 year old mother. One individual commented: “Them ha this new thing at the new hospital… invisible leg cast… Ah that she hab on! Them ah work pon the one for the hand…” So because of her leg with the invisible cast and with the invisible leg pain that she was suffering… she had to be sent to the front.

This morning there were both both levity and lack of brevity…  Tonight… well… tonight is going to be a long night… particularly for the politicians!