Growing up, my dad drilled into me the importance of being on time. I’m sure it’s because he was in the military, starting with JROTC in high school. The military is highly conscious of time, and so was my dad. I learned to get ready in record time (for a girl) and be in the car at least 5 minutes before the scheduled time to depart. If Dad said we’re leaving at 7 PM, that meant all kids better be inside the car and buckled up at 6:55—because he’d be backing out of the garage and heading to our destination. He was always a man on a mission when it came to getting places.
I was on drill team, and that’s another organization that emphasized being on time. Tardiness wasn’t tolerated because too much had to get done! I didn’t want to rack up any demerits, so I made my carpool know that we’d be on time . . . or else. Fortunately, I rode with girls that didn’t think me totally insane . . . and they always got me to practice without a problem.
Going to college, I made it a priority to get to class on time because I had a few professors with a withering gaze and/or biting sarcasm who would shred students into merciless pieces if they tried to slip in late and unnoticed. My dorm was close to some classes (only a quarter of a mile), but it took longer to get to other buildings (not quite a 5K). I had to factor in not only the day of the week (so I’d head in the right class’s direction), but I also had to time eating downstairs and any inclement weather into the mix.
The same thing was important to get to my summer jobs and finally the teaching job that I landed when I graduated. Dallas traffic is heavy, congested, and can be eternally slow. It might only take 20 minutes to get to my school—but I never left without a sizeable cushion of time on my side. A wreck could double the drive time, while heavy rain (which caused wrecks) could easily triple it.
When I started dating my husband, the whole “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” phrase applied. Obviously he wasn’t raised by my dad to regard punctuality as the holy grail. For our 1st date at 7 PM, I was ready by 6:40—dressed, perfumed, lip glossed to the max, every hair in place. The clock chimed the hour. No date. It chimed the quarter hour—and my nerves, which had begun spiraling out of control by 7:05—now went berserk. He finally arrived at 7:25, smiling, happy, ready to see me. I pretty much read him the riot act (and he still took me out and proposed down the line, so it must’ve been love). I can say after all these years of marriage, he’s much better at being aware about time.
That leads me to voting.
I turned 18 my freshman year in college, 3 days before a presidential election. I was ecstatic to be able to vote. To have my voice heard. To be a responsible adult. But, my gosh—the lines! Being on a college campus where thousands were eligible to vote? All in the same precinct? Let’s just say I stood there a long time in order to exercise my right to vote!
That’s why I make an effort nowadays to participate in early voting. My community has an upcoming election in May to elect local leaders to our city council and school board. Even though it’s not a large town, I seem to grow more impatient as I grow older. I’ll say waiting isn’t my strong suit. So with it being a beautiful day today, cool with plenty of sunshine, I threw on my tennis shoes, stretched a little, and then walked up to City Hall. I breezed right in (no line) and was ID checked, given a ballot, and voted in about 90 seconds. Maybe less. I didn’t think to time the whole process. I still enjoyed walking across the street to feed the baby ducks at the lake and then head home. Exercise done. Voting over.
And no lines!
Yes, I’m grateful for the invention of the early voting process. I’ve never found out anything shocking or scandalous about a candidate that would have made me wish I’d waited to vote.
So think about and do your civic duty—go early vote!