The alarm is pounding in my head. The sound is like a freight train running through my cerebral cortex. I reach over to hit the snooze button. I miss. One more try. There, silence once again. I hug my pillow even tighter, and all is well again, except I try to jump back into that dream that had me so enthralled just a moment ago. All I can see in my mind is a tunnel, with a train slowly covering the light at the end, until it is now coming right for me.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP.
Oh alright. I quickly get up, wiping sleep from my eyes as I stumble into the shower and wash the sleep from me body. I am often annoyed by the tasks I need to complete every morning. Such a waste of my time to have to shower exactly the same way every morning. Then dry off exactly the same way, brush my teeth exactly the same way. How boring! Yet here I am doing it again. The realization that this morning has something different in store gets me through my boredom. I quickly dress, make some coffee, prepare my lunch, and head for the garage. My trusty old Chevy Trailblazer rumbles to attention, the 270 horse power six cylinder engine fires up and propels me out of the driveway, ready to meet any challenges.
As I get closer to my destination, I can see the fresh grass along the road to my left, a fine mist of dew floating on top. It is still dark as the sun has not made its usual appearance. I love this time of day. Except for the occasional early riser, it is quiet. I have the windows down, and the fall breeze hits my face as I smell the beginning of a new day in the air. It is mornings like these when I remember getting up early with my dad to go play Golf, the golf course having that same still, peaceful feeling, inviting you to experience the smells and sounds of nature rising from its nightly slumber.
As I pull closer to the parking lot of the school, I start to see activity. Oh no, not people, at least not yet. The first activity is in the form of signs. At first it is just a couple. The are brightly colored. Many have the American flag on them, smartly covered in shades of red, white and blue. Some of them are pretty small, which makes you wonder why even put them out, when you can hardly read them. Some are quite large, and obviously needed more than one person to erect. As I get closer, I see more and more signs, until I pull into the parking lot and see rows and rows of them. They greet me energetically. As I pull into the parking lot, it seems as if they are all jumping up and down, hands up in the air exclaiming “Pick me! Pick me!”
As I pull into my chosen parking space, it is still dark. There are hints that the sun is on its way, but she is taking her sweet time, perhaps hitting the snooze button on her alarm clock as well. There are only a few other cars, but I can see more behind me. It is quite beautiful to see them, their headlights leading the way. I am reminded of the movie Field of Dreams and the famous line “Build it, and they will come!”. I can see people now. As I walk up to the school, and take out my identification, I can see them handing out posters and business cards. Yes this is the place.
I walk quickly through the hallways on to my destination. More than one person tries to hand me a business card or poster. They are telling me to punch this or punch that. I resist their attempts, even though I am listening. I tend to not vote for anyone who approaches me at the polling location, and today is no different. They have had long enough to influence my vote. Not today. My decision has been made. A short line, a couple of questions later, and I am there. It is just me, the ballot, and a pen. Decisions will be made today.
Today I am an American, and today I voted.