Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Just a Small Town Girl

I live on the outskirts of Los Angeles, but every now and then, I'm reminded just how "small town" my life really is. Last night, I rushed home from work and errands to make it to the polls before they closed. Having accidentally thrown away my sample ballot, I called my mother for a reminder of where I was supposed to go to vote (my ballot still gets mailed to my parents' house). She told me I needed to go to Monte Vista Elementary—the school I had attended from kindergarten through 6th grade.

I had voted there in the last election too, and remembered thinking how very strange it felt to walk onto the campus. Of course it seemed smaller, but what was more surprising was how faded my memories of the school had become. I thought it would feel nostalgically familiar, but it was more like walking into a picture I'd seen in a book somewhere.

I hurried through the school's gates, skipped down the stairs and into the auditorium (which did spark a twinge of sentimentality) where the polling booths were set up. As I stood admiring the check-in lady's precise use of a ruler to cross voters off her list, I was hit by something. Literally physically jarred. Someone said, "Oh excuse me." I looked up to find my brother-in-law and niece standing next to me.

"Are you going to vote for Obama?!" my niece hyperventilated.

"No, I have to vote for those pesky Republicans because I never changed my party after I registered in 1994," I told her. I'm sure this warmed my conservative brother-in-law's heart.

They went on their merry way and I fished my ID from my purse to hand to the check-in lady. Upon hearing her utter my last name, another woman at the table said, "Your sister was here earlier."

Now this was interesting to me because A. I have a different last name from my sister. And B. I had never seen this woman before in my life. "How do you know my sister?" I asked.

"I'm her friend Tracy's mother," she replied. Ah yes, I knew Tracy. What a small world it is.

Okay, maybe it's not that small of a world, just a small town. Either way, it's nice to be a part of it. Sure, I love that I can drive 20 minutes and be in the heart of Hollywood, but it's also pretty darn neat to bump into relatives and have strangers recognize me. Kinda made Tuesday a bit more Super.


Laura said...

I hope your conservative brother-in-law was dressed when he went out to vote.

Semichrmd said...

Ahhh the small town. I too live in small town, where a trip to Target brings me face to face with at least an ex boyfriend or two every few weeks. Not exactly pleasant but I wouldn't trade it. I'm a 2 min drive away from Philadelphia & just a train ride from NYC. So it seems like we both have the best of both worlds. And your niece's comment "Are you gonna vote for Obama?!" Maybe I should have chuckled when I read that but I did :)

Anita said...

I voted at Monte Vista too since all my "official" stuff is mailed to my parents. I wish I had run into that would've been funny. The school looks so tiny now compared to back then. Weird how aging makes everything smaller. BTW, your niece is smart. :)

Obama Loving Neice said...

So i am pretty popular when it comes to your blog. Huh.