Democracy · slice of life

The Voting Angel on My Shoulder

I peered out of the window in the office where I was conferring with a teacher. The sky was blue on one side and a smudgy dark blue on the other. It was 3:20 p.m. Our debrief was technically over. While there was more to discuss, I was feeling edgy about the impending storms.

“I should get on my way,” I said.

“You should,” she replied. “You have a long drive home and it looks like it’s going to storm — soon.”

I packed up my things, used the bathroom, and walked to my car. The juxtaposition of the sky’s hues alarmed me. I paused before I opened my car door. I heard nothing but the laughter of children on the playground. No thunder.

My focus continued to be on the sky — and the road, of course — on my drive home. I watched the GPS’s mileage lessen as I got closer to home. But I also watched the sky turn a murky blue-gray.

As my car headed east towards Duncannon, I noticed bolts of lightning in the distance. My first thought was please let the rain hold off until I make it across the Juniata River. My second thought was an odd one. Please don’t let the rain start until after I vote.

That’s right. I was first worried about making it across a narrow bridge over the Juniata. My second concern was that I’d make it to the polls in one piece.

I made it across the Juniata unscathed. But moments later, it seemed as though every tree’s blossom was blowing through the air. I heard thunder. I noticed flashes of lightning behind me. Then, the skies opened up. It was POURING as I made my way closer to home.

You still have to go to the polls to vote in the primary, the proverbial angel on my shoulder told me. Involved citizens vote in primaries.

But the devil, so-to-speak, on the other shoulder kept saying, “No one will care that you voted if you get hit by a bolt of lightning on the way out of the polls.”

I gripped my steering wheel and tried to tell the “angel” and the “devil” to shut up.

But I didn’t have to. You see, as I approached home (which was east of where I was working today), it seemed I had beat out the storm. The wind was gusting, but drops weren’t falling. I drove past my street and to the local elementary school where I hustled out of my car to vote.

Our local wardman recognized me. “Thank you for braving the weather to come out to vote.” (Obviously, this was nicer than telling me I was out of my mind for being out in this weather.)

“I hope I can get out before it starts to pour,” I said.

“There’s no line!” he declared.

Of course, there isn’t, I thought. No one, other than the poll workers and a couple of campaign workers, was at the polls. There was literally no one else voting. Do you know why? Not only was the sky ominous, but there was a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado warning in effect.


Post Primary Voting Selfie (FYI: It’s illegal to take a selfie in the voting booth in Pennsylvania, which is why I took one outside — in the wind.)

Today was a monumental day in Pennsylvania. Our congressional map has been redrawn. As a result, the ruling from the State Supreme Court is an attempt to put an end to gerrymandering so that our congressional map can achieve partisan balance. Fair congressional districts matter and that’s why I braved horrendous weather to vote.



Thankfully, I made it home in one piece. By the time I arrived home, I filled bottles of water, grabbed a lantern, and a wind-up radio, and got ready for the possibility of sheltering in the basement since the tornado warnings were a reality. Thankfully, nothing touched down near our home.

Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more Slice of Life Stories.

6 thoughts on “The Voting Angel on My Shoulder

  1. I’m glad you voted today. I sliced about the PA primary election as well. You must not be too far from me. I live and teach in State College. So glad you listened to the voting angel:)

    1. We’re about 90 miles apart! (I ADORE State College. My husband’s cousin is going to be a senior at Penn State next year so I hope to get up there at least twice!)

  2. Whoa, Stacey! What a way to face all the challenges of the day! Happy to hear you made it to the polls and home safely! Your post speaks volumes about what you value — I only hope other citizens made it to the polls too!

  3. Good for you! My story from yesterday is similar, went to the polls after work as well. The skies looked ominous and the pollls were empty. It was perhaps not as significant as yours but I do believe we have an amazing right and should always exercise it when possible.

  4. Well done, Stacey! The angel was watching over you as you accomplished getting to the polls and home in one slightly wind-blown piece.

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