Today, I woke up in shame. Petitions for my candidate, Yvette Simpson for Mayor, were coming due. My email said so. My petition was blank, devoid of 25 of the 500 names Yvette needed (as did each mayoral candidate) to be certified for the ballot.
I emailed a volunteer to admit my failings, informing her I would still drop off Mark’s petition that day.
I drove off to visit my mom and found her fast asleep. I cranked up Sinatra, Time After Time, cleaned her closets, and folded the clothes in her drawer. The task wasn’t pointless but it wasn’t exactly fruitful either. Living in the moment with Mom also means the moments in which she sleeps.
On my return home, I stopped by Yvette’s office to deliver Mark’s petition (and my empty one). Yvette answered the door. Darn it. I admitted to my candidate that I had failed.
With grace, she accepted the petitions, one blank and one full. However, Yvette appeased me by informing me petitions were not due to the Board of Elections until February 16th. I could still collect a few signatures over the coming weekend and make an impact in a small way. Together, the blank petition and I crept out of the office.
I drove down Gilbert. My stomach sank. Is this what you marched for, Annette? Is this what you want to remember, when Yvette wins? Is this what democracy looks like, just because you have had a sick mother, a sick dog, a sick husband and a sick manuscript?
Those thoughts occupied my brain as I rolled down Liberty St. At the Race St. intersection, I had a choice. I could turn left and go home. See if I could work out the kinks in a novel in places that just weren’t working. Or, I could head to Findlay Market.
Minutes later, I stood at Findlay Market with my petition and clipboard in hand, near Pho Lang Thang, where the crowd and the sun were both in proximity.
My first thought was, I’ll just gather a few signatures, so I feel better about my contribution. My second thought was, I’ll get halfway down the page. By the time lunch hour was over, I had two signatures left to go. My final signee said, “Oh, I love Yvette. And thanks for standing up for democracy.”
I ordered a Mimi’s eggroll as my reward, hopped back in the car, and drove to Yvette’s office. The door to the office in Walnut Hills was locked from the outside, so I knocked and the windows rattled. When Yvette spotted me, I danced outside the door, waving a full petition in her sight.
Yvette was overjoyed, probably because of the quick turnaround. And I, ecstatic, marched out with a million women who had my back.