I feel okay today but sixteen unbroken hours in a polling station can take the wind out of one's sails.
In the middle of the afternoon a familiar woman appeared in the church hall. I recognised her from the Oxfam shop. She is about fifty with long grey-blonde hair. Slender and combative Miss James carries a long stick to guide her for she is partially-sighted.
Down at Oxfam where she likes to peruse the book shelves while claiming she is totally blind, I remember once offering to assist her. She turned on me like a she-wolf complaining about the shop's lighting. "Who ordered these lights? They're terrible! I'm blind. Without good light I can't see a thing! No! No! Get away from me. I don't need your help!"
She is very cantankerous. While most of us like to get through our days without confrontation or unpleasantness, Miss James seems to actively seek these things so when she appeared at our polling station my heart sank a little.
It turns out that she knew very well that ours was not her assigned polling station. In fact, she had just come from her own polling station a few streets away following a typical argument in which she had ended up ripping a ballot paper to pieces in front of the poll clerks. They must have wondered what had hit them.
In our church hall she was all sweetness and light as she sought clarification on the election process. She didn't blow up too much when I said I knew she was partially sighted. "No I am not! I am registered blind. Can I read that booklet myself?"
She was just having a breather, recouping her energy before returning to her own polling station to fire more broadsides at officials who surely hoped they had seen the last of her. We found all of this out from the polls inspector who has to rove around the different polling stations checking that everything is flowing smoothly.
I guess Miss James fell asleep happily last night as she recollected her various fights at the post office, the green grocer's, on the bus, at the charity shop and in the polling station. "Ahhh! Another most satisfactory day!" she may have sighed as she looked forward to more confrontations on Friday.
That's a very long shift. And it was a very long piece of paper that I had to fold so carefully to get into the box.ReplyDelete
Do they have boxes in Ladies toilets? We gentlemen just drop our paper in the lavatory bowl.Delete
Sixteen hours sounds like an eternity. Is it not possible to have enough people working to split that between two people?ReplyDelete
It's too long. You don't even get half an hour to yourself for lunch. Last year we had three people. It was better then.Delete
There was hardly enough room left in the ballot box for mine. One of the poll clerks made room by poking down the ballot papers with a ruler-like implement. I asked whether it was an official tool. "Actually it really is" the three of them all replied together.ReplyDelete
Was the ruler-like implement a ruler? Maybe the ruler-like tool was Boris Johnson.Delete
It was like a plain white long plastic "rule" (to be pedantic).Delete
Oh you mean a poll box stuffer!Delete
It does seem like they would get more volunteers to work the polls if they would do split shifts. It is the same here in the US - the poll workers must work open to close.ReplyDelete
My polls partner and I also talked about that - splitting the sixteen hours in half.Delete
Sounds like your Miss James was just what was needed to make the long shift so much more pleasant.ReplyDelete
I am just grateful that she was using us a breathing space and not as a target.Delete
Well, being a bitch is probably the joy of that woman's life. Let's just face it. It's the only way she can get attention. So if you really want to piss her off, just ignore her in the future.ReplyDelete
You are a good citizen, by the way.
I think she may have a mental illness.Delete
It certainly makes one wonder what makes some people tick...why some people gain pleasure from acting in such a manner.ReplyDelete
Perhaps she has another underlying health reason - perhaps a mental health problem, which cause her to act that way...a reason/s she has no control over...
That was a long day you put in, Yorkie...all types would have been out and about, no doubt. :)
Five hundred people came into the polling station and every one was different. I agree with you that Miss James probably does have a mental problem. Her confrontational habit is unnatural.Delete
I met someone like that the other day. Just saying how sorry I was that a poor fellow who used to sell books by the station had died, and got a broadside about how horrible he'd been to her kids and I must be a horrible person to like people like that. Yes, possibly a form of mental illness. But if it keeps her happy I suppose it doesn't really do anyone any harm.ReplyDelete
I feel sorry for people who confront others habitually. It's nice to live more forgivingly, more peacefully.Delete
We have a pleasant-looking, totally blind, middle-aged woman in our area with a gorgeous Labrador guide dog and I've only ever heard her speak once and I was shocked to the back teeth as she let rip with a lot of potty language when someone came up to pat her dog. The dog looked totally unfussed, like he'd heard it all before. I think it's the incongruity of seeing someone we expect to be vulnerable to behave in such a bolshie and aggressive way that is so surprising. That and hearing a woman swearing like a sailor.ReplyDelete
I hear what you are saying. Society seems to expect people with disabilities to have submissive and grateful personalities. That is another -ism I think.Delete
I take it then that you weren't witness to any EU country member having lived most their adult life in Britain finding, on trying to cast a vote, their name being crossed out on the list and turned away? What's next? Numbers engraved just above our wrists?ReplyDelete
It's a disgrace. And yes, I did shed tears (in the privacy of my own company).
Greetings from a humiliated second class citizen,
We had a few EU citizens at our polling station. Some had registered to vote in England while others had their names crossed off because they had not registered in the required manner and may have registered to vote in another EU country. One lady from Portugal was quite distressed about this.Delete
But that's the point, YP, "required manner". What required manner if we weren't made aware of it? I basically sit on the news, so at some point I got an inkling on some "other" form needing to be filled in. Vaguely panicked I phoned the council, the department which deals with voters' registers, 7th May and was informed that all was "well" and that, indeed, I was registered to vote. No mention of forms. And to top it all, if May had agreed to have those forms at polling stations for those who had missed them, then we would have still been able to put our cross. But, oh no, just like when she was in charge of the Home Office she gave fuck all.Delete
Funny, don't you think, that of all European Parliament Elections, this was the FIRST one (for me, since living here) where AN EXTRA FORM was required?
The lady at our polling station had a poll box stuffer...it looked remarkably like a ruler to me!!ReplyDelete
The poll box stuffer was invented by Peter Snow.Delete
Some people actually find confrontation invigorating. I don't get it, but hey, it takes all kinds!ReplyDelete