Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I have voted in the "Anything Goes Chapel"
Well, I got up with the chickens at half crack this morning and I went to vote. If you have not voted by the time you read this, shame on you.
My first memories of voting came when I was very, very young. I was with my father and went to Lomond School in Shaker Heights, where we went into the gym. We were led to a wooden voting booth with a golden rod curtain around it. I asked who he was voting for and he said "Shhhh." I started rattling off name of the people I knew - I wanted him to vote for Mommy and Miss Frances, my nursery School teacher. When you are three, anything is possible.
Anyway, back to today. We could have early voted, or mail voted, but as this is a first time in Maryland vote, the Husband and I decided to do it in the flesh.
We vote in a very nice, very posh United Methodist Church near our house. At 7AM, I was 200th in line. But I stood in the cold breeze and hoped to God that the line would start moving. It took a half hour to get to the door, and then another half hour to snake our way through one memorial hallway after another.
Stops were made in the Carl and Alice Hunt Memorial Hallway, the Jack and Jen Phillips Fellowship Hallway and the Mary McCaskin-Wright Memorial Atrium. We passed that William Mitchell Porte Cochere and Vestibule, and then went down some unnamed stairs; evidently no one wants to memorialize or sponsor staircases because you can't make them sound more important than they are. They can never be a "Stairitorium", they are just "stairs."
At the bottom of the sad, unloved staircase, two lines formed, based on your precinct. Precinct 40 was directed toward the "Art and Soul Hall" to vote, and our precinct, 41, voted in the "Anything Goes Chapel".
This of course led my mind off on all sorts of tangents as years of anti-depressents have pickled my attention span.
Was this a room where cabaret singers sang Cole Porter numbers, or was it really a room where any "thing" - like Quasimoto - could go for a moment of reflection? Was it a room of debauchery, or a room where odd groups (Baltimore Washboard Philharmonic) could practice? Even more perverse was the idea that this is where fine upstanding by-the-book Methodists would go to dance, or worse: play cards? Since this is a welcoming church and courts the gay population, was this a room where Dykes On Bikes met? Or what about Gay Square Dancers and their dosy-doe's and and away we go, girrrl?
When I finally got into the Anything Goes Chapel, I was really disappointed to see that it was a blank multipurpose room suitable for anything, and not much more. It didn't even have an altar or any real purpose than to be anything to everybody. It had all the charm of a white basement room with an off white tile floor. Nothing to note, and even less to offend, unless you can't stand bland neutral spaces, and then it would enrage you. It seemed like the room where things were assigned when everything else with a purpose was in use. It did have a fleck of color here and there: gray. It was a room that could be anywhere. If it had been in a Harry Potter novel it would have been The Room of Flex Space.
I voted on a Diebold machine, which means I have a fifty fifty chance of having my vote count for who and what I voted for, or my vote being recorded as being straight line Republican. I didn't vote for the judges because I had no idea who any of them are, and being her just sixty days meant I had no idea that they were going to be on the ballot. My bad. I pushed the "VOTE" button and got my "I Voted" sticker, which I am wearing because it makes me feel superior to everyone else.
As I left, I ran into another neighbor from south of the precinct line and he asked me how the "Anything Goes Chapel" was, and I imparted that it was probably underwritten by the "Bland Family". He shared that the Art and Soul Room, as well, was neither.
"Typical Church basement room. White ceiling, white walls and an off white floor. But we had an unloved spinnet piano off in the corner." And I bet him it was hopelessly out of tune. "It probably draws untalented children to who start playing their version of Heart and Soul," he added.
So it is done.
Now we wait. And I still think the world would be a better place if Miss Francis Kochkowski were on the ballot.