Last year I was having a hard time getting into the Christmas Spirit. I decided it was because I had done most of my shopping online and didn't go into the stores. I missed the music, the lights, the automated dancing elves, the tinsel, the rubbing shoulders with so many shoppers who were in the middle of thinking about everyone besides themselves, and the barrage of "Merry Christmas!" from the cheery clerks.
I was reminded of that today at my voting precinct office. My neighbors manned the long table and I was greeted when I walked in, not with, "How may I help you, ma'am?" but "Hi, Emily!" They handed me my ballot and gave clear instructions. We joked about the weather and they ooohed at the little girl on my hip. After I voted, they gave me a sticker I had never before received, despite having earned it. It felt like community--and that, after all, is a big part of what voting is about.
I'll never request that absentee ballot again. It felt too good to get that sticker. And to be reminded that all of our one votes really add up.