This is from a reader in California:
A fog settled down in my neck of So Cal in the pre-dawn hours. The polls opened at seven a.m. I got to mine at the local grammar school at 7:01--the place was packed. Unprecedented. Voters streamed like ghosts out of the mist. The dutiful septuagenarian stopped every one of them at the door, asking, "Do you know the line number of your candidate?" Unprecedented. We are all half asleep, the swirling fog makes the school feel like a scene from Blade Runner, no one has ever been asked such a question going into a polling booth, and we’re Californios--so what do we do? We answer! Only some of us think he wants to know the page, so we say, "Page Two!" "No, no," says the old citizen who could have played the sheriff in Much Ado about Nothing, "Not the page, the line number!" "Oh, uh, I forgot my glasses, let me see . . . uh, line 31, I think." "No, you don’t have to tell me. We’re just making sure you’re not confused by the ballot." "Oh." "Page 2, Line 31," says the next one before even being asked. And so on. It turns into a mantra. Citizen ghosts in the fog chanting "Page Two, Line 31!" It takes on a rhythm. People begin to sway in a kind of civic cha-cha-cha. Page 2, Line 31: Ahnold. It’s over. And the fog hasn’t even lifted. Of course the counting of the absentees will go on for weeks, and the Dems are already knocking down the courthouse doors. Never mind. "It has frequently been remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of California to give democracy a whole new meaning." p.s. An old blue hair sashays out of the fog with a freshly minted sweatshirt. On the back: "Grope me for California." Duty calls. Then I disappear in the mist.