Wednesday, November 03, 2004

inside the machinery

I was brought in by a temp agency to work for the Department of Elections in San Francisco last night. Instead of huddling with my fellow man and yelling at a television, I was hoisting very heavy bags filled with ballots. These were being driven in to Pier 29 by Sherriff's Department officers, which, I'm told, is a new thing. There was a lot of waiting around for precincts to close up. In the meantime, I wandered around the pier, which is where they keep a lot of parade floats and giant styrofoam objects, like a golden monkey king and a "kiss me i'm irish" jolly leprechaun bas relief. It also smelled strongly of horse manure, and sure enough, there were two horses tied up to the pier, maybe in case things needed to get all Paul Revere for some reason.
So this was a surreal situation to be in, a giant warehouse with forklifts and portapotty, and small roped off sections for "objective observeres." There were armies of minivans and worker drones busying ourselves with...what? The future of the presidency? Hardly. We didn't even see the first vans arrive till about 10 pm, and my friend had already heard about Florida going to Bush. It took a lot of wind out of the process, the idea that somehow my physical labor would be contributing to the National outcome. I still slogged on for several more hours, watching the hundred or so people there break the Eagle ballot machines down, pull busted sacks of ballots onto their designated spots on the warehouse floor to be tabulated again. I don't envy the DOE workers that will be there a few more hours still...
I wish there was a nice pithy way to sum up getting my hands dirty for the good of democracy, but I just kept worrying about throwing out my back and if I could get worker's comp. I got home and got to yell at the TV a little bit. Something tells me I've got a lot of yelling to look forward to.

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