Last night I received this story in an email from my friend Vivian. She's a Canadian-American who has lived in Montreal most of her adult life, but she's voting in Florida by absentee ballot. In these days of not-much-humor about the upcoming elections, I appreciated this story:
"Last Friday, a week ago, I went to get a pedicure in the local community centre. My friend Deb made the appointment, or, more accurately, she had given me the appointment her father had since he is now having trouble getting around. I got there late but the Foot Lady wasn't there yet. I sat in the hall on a chair. It was a youth centre, with its own Bingo hall and a little office where they made all the appointment on a clip board. A woman came in from the street and sat down, she said she couldn't stand any longer. Are you waiting for the bus? I asked. I am waiting for a gentleman who is blind, he comes to play Bingo. How is that? He has special cards, cards in Braille. So we chat a little. She is retired, as am I, and she hates it, she wants to be busy but the doctor says she cannot work. Then the Foot Lady arrives. It doesn't matter much, the appointment after me was open, a cancellation. It turns out she had had to detour around a big traffic jam on the overpass at Angrignon and then rushing through Verdun had gotten a speeding ticket. Who knows it is 30? That is too slow. They are just trying to make money. I didn't think she could afford to pay it. A Foot Lady who commutes from the West Island to a different community centre every day of the week, and takes private clients too. It must be tiring. She was a little French Canadian woman with a round sweet face with bright blonde hair in ringlets around her face, kind of a mullet actually long in back and shorter on the sides, and she patiently unpacked her gigantic black valise with her electric sander-thing and swabs and two stacks of clean towels and the foot soaking tub and creams and little metal implements of different kinds. What kind of work do you do, she asked, are you creative? I think you are artistic. She spoke an almost unaccented English, just a bit tentatively. Sometimes she searched for a word. When she found out I was originally from the U.S. she said, oh, and what do you think, about the vote there? That one who is running to be the next prime minister, what is his name...Oklahoma!..."
(Most Canadians, I should add, have the facts straight, though they do find the interminable U.S. campaign and electoral college pretty hard to fathom. Every single Canadian I've talked to has asked me, worriedly, "but are you going to vote?" and looked very relieved when I've told them I already have, and for whom.)