Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day

my desk has been repurposed as an arts and crafts station
by J J Cohen

Because the Cohen offspring attend public schools, classes are cancelled the first Tuesday of each November so that their buildings may be employed as polling stations.

At fifteen, Alex is old enough to use the day for homework and then to hang out with friends (I believe this involves a Magic card tournament). KEC is only eight, though, so election day is her chance to accompany me to my office -- a ritual we both love. Having her walk with me to Metro gives an excuse to stop for pain au chocolat before boarding the train. The twelve minute subway ride is a chance to make "secret" funny faces at each other as the other commuters lose themselves in private thoughts, smart phones, newspapers, and other techniques for keeping the mind distant from the present moment. My ten minute zig-zag of a route from Farragut North to Foggy Bottom comes differently alive when KEC shows me how much more fun it is to walk atop retaining walls and curbs rather than the dull expanses of sidewalks. She is wearing her "Sock Monkey with a Green Mohawk" hat today, and the number of smiles she elicits from people brought suddenly back into the present is cheering.

We stop at the coffee shop I always visit on my way to my office, and she watches in fascination as they grind beans and prepare drinks. She orders a hot chocolate for herself, and asks if the person handing her the cup would like to see her in her "Sock Monkey with a Green Mohawk" hat. How can he say no? As we are leaving, she asks me how the people who work there could know that I am writing a book, and does that mean I'm famous. Yes, I tell her, they know me at coffee shops throughout the land. She rolls her eyes in a way she has learned from her brother. As we near my office she spills a little bit of her hot chocolate on her coat, and as I wipe it clean she announces that we will forget that the last two minutes ever happened. I agree.

But really I'm thinking how much KEC has made me see my morning routine from its exterior, made me realize how fortunate I am to possess this ambulation that on most days I perform without sufficient treasuring. I don't want to forget any of it.

2 comments:

Karl Steel said...

Lovely, thanks for sharing. May she spill chocolate on your coat, or mine, next time.

Anne said...

Thank you for this beautiful post, Jeffrey. I love the idea of this familial intimacy and millions of people voting happening simultaneously.