STROUDSBURG, Pa. — I waited behind a line of fifty people to vote on Tuesday. Fifty people might not seem like a lot, but if I hiked my usual three-mile loop around the neighborhood, I can count the number of houses I’d pass on my fingers.
The neighborhood is mixed. There’s a well-to-do Iraqi family down the road. A Turkish family next to them. There are two small-business owners who complain of problems they’re having providing health insurance to employees.
There’s an African-American middle-class professional single-parent household. The only thing I know about “the mom” is that she’s educated, keeps to herself and doesn’t like Nancy Grace.
Down the road is a poor, blended family headed by an African-American man named Sammie. They are relative newcomers to the neighborhood and live in an old clapboard farmhouse vacated when the last member of a well-respected farm family died. We talk about dogs once in a while.
At the polls, I struck up a conversation with Mildred Zarkhovich, a picture of stolid, working-class respectability. I mentioned it was busy for that time of day. Zarkhovich said she wasn’t surprised by the turnout.
“People are mad,” she said.
“Are you mad?” I asked.
She laughed and peered at me, trying to read my mind. I admitted to being mad, too. Mildred said she believed that the strong turnout was because “some voters have woke up.”
Satisfied I had broken the code, I hazarded a guess that Zarkhovich was there to vote for Republicans.
“Don’t blame me… I voted for McCain,” I said.
“I voted for McCain, too,” she told me.
The next time I saw Mildred Zarkhovich was in the parking lot after she had voted.
“Hey,” I said, “their guy Siptroth is OK, but I pulled the switch straight Republican anyway.”
Mildred laughed. She confirmed she did, too.
I’d talked to several people while waiting in line before settling on Mildred as the representative voter. I’d had trouble finding a Democrat voter in that bunch. I thought maybe I’d try later when my wife voted.
In the parking lot, I spotted a woman with a Siptroth lapel pin. I rushed over to her quickly, explaining that I was writing an article for Associated Content. I told her I struck out in finding anyone voting Democrat.
“All right,” she said, “You’ve got me. So what?”
I mentioned that most voters I talked to were voting Republican.
“After eight years of George Bush, people expect Barack Obama to get us out of the mess they created after just two years,” the woman said.
“But the polls says the Democrats are going to get slammed,” I prodded.
“The polls are wrong. We’re going to win. If Republicans gain the House, it’s going to be a horrible two years until Obama is elected again in a landslide,” said the woman.
As much as I’d heard of political analysis 2010, I had never heard anyone predicting an Obama landslide in 2012. Was it my imagination or was there a mysterious, eerie, blue glow in her eyes? Perhaps the woman was right, though. She peered deeply into my eyes and saw a mysterious, eerie red glow.
There was a spaceship parked nearby and one of us climbed aboard and vanished quickly. The other (I’m not sure which one) headed for the parking lot and a pickup truck.