My civic duty

So I just voted, across Haight Street in somebody’s garage. It was 10 am or so, a bright, crisp November morning, and still kind of busy, with a short line of people waiting for the half-dozen or so voting booths that had been set up. There were a few people I recognized from the coffee shop, and a woman voted with her baby slung across her shoulder. I had heard about the lines outside City Hall during early voting last weekend, but there were even lines outside my polling place, in the righteous-lefty but extremely transient Lower Haight. I’ve never seen a line around here. San Francisco, of course, is typical of exactly nothing in these United States (except maybe Berkeley, across the bay), so I won’t draw too many conclusions from my experience. But the poll worker told me that it had been so busy that they had already run out of ballots once. The atmosphere was festive, with neighbors shooting the shit, and nobody seemed in a rush to get out of there and back to work. I’d guess that everybody else was feeling a bit like I was, savoring the vote we were about to cast for Barack Obama. As someone who writes about politics regularly, I can be pretty cynical about our process, and I’m sure I’ll revert to form later on, no matter what happens. But I couldn’t feel cynical this morning.