Things are not always as they seem; the first appearance deceives many. – Phaedrus
My daughter and I are election workers. We’re the ones who swipe your driver’s license and issue you a ballot. My friend Renee votes in the precinct where I work. During this last midterm election, Renee’s husband voted during the day and said she would be in to vote later.
Be Kind to Your Election Workers
Before I continue, I should mention that election workers are there all day. It’s one shift. We start before 6 AM, and stay until after everyone who was in line when the polls closed at 8 PM have voted and until we finish all of close-out duties. It ends up being about a 16 hour shift, with quick breaks only when nature calls and to throw a little nourishment down our gullets.
This particular day, about an hour before the polls closed, I got up to go to the bathroom. I was astounded to see how long the line was. On my return trek back to the voting room, as I rounded the corner, there, finally, was Renee standing at the end of the horrifically long, silent, line.
‘Bout Time You Got Here
I grabbed her arm and screeched, “’BOUT TIME YOU GOT HERE, LADY!” She, and about 50 other people all turned to look at me when I realized it was NOT Renee, but an impostor! This doppelganger was a dead ringer for Renee.
I was mortified but tried to make it seem like I was just being friendly. “I’m glad all of you made it here to vote.” And then I quickly returned to my seat to assume my position of scanning in driver’s licenses.
I did not say anything to my daughter, mostly because we were slamming busy with last minute voters and there was no time for chit chat, but also because I was trying to pretend that what just happened, never happened.
Slap Happy Stage
Good voter turnout is a lovely site to see for democracy, but it’s tough on the election workers. This particular day as it was nearing 8 PM, my daughter and I were starving and exhausted. We had definitely entered Slap Happy stage. The voters were also weary, hungry, and frustrated from standing in line so long.
About 30 minutes after I had returned from my mistaken identify faux pas, my daughter looked left into the hallway outside the multipurpose room where we were set up, to try to determine how many voters still needed to vote. Unexpectedly she bellowed, “RENEE IS HERE! RENEE IS HERE!”
Voter’s heads started to pop up from the secrecy booths like a game of whack-a-mole, as they looked around to see what the commotion was about.
I immediately grabbed my daughter’s arm and started Shhhhhh-ing her. “That’s not Renee.” “Yes it is, there she is.” RENEE IS HERE!” “No honey, it’s not. I just made the same mistake when I went to the bathroom. It’s not her.”
Like mother, like daughter. My mini-me was also embarrassed at the blunder. It was a good thing that I had just returned from the water closet because I started laughing so hard, I would have surely peed. Both of us were almost hyperventilating as we giggled our guts out. We were still attempting to be professional while issuing ballots to the not-so-amused awaiting voters standing directly in front of us.
As the Renee-wannabe inched closer to us, we would get it together for a brief moment. But then one of us would whisper, “Renee is here” only to bust out laughing again.
When it was finally time for Phony Renee to get her ballot, all we could do was look at her with tears streaming down our cheeks and laugh. My daughter was the mature one who managed to say to her, “I’m sorry. You have a twin walking around. You look exactly like someone we know, and we thought you were her.”
I still couldn’t get it together, and had begun snort-laughing and gasping for air. She half-smiled and said, “Is that why you yelled at me in the hallway?” Gulp. So busted. I managed to nod and eke out, “I’m so sorry” but still could not stop laughing.
As for the real Renee? She never did make it. I trust she had something dire come up that prevented her from making it to the polls.
It wasn’t the first time I’ve had a case of mistaken identity, and I’m sure it won’t be the last; though this one may be the most memorable.
What about you? Fess up. You’ve done something similar before, right?
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