We had a small dinner party this past weekend. It was a combination Thanksgiving and ‘meet the new girlfriend’ thing. Crazy D and his new squeeze, Other Brother, L’il Sis and The Man in My Life were all here. It was also the final weekend before our federal election and, as such, the dinner table was designated a ‘no combat zone’…i.e.: no talking politics. I was afraid fists (or wine bottles) might fly. Having listened to Crazy D’s rants about one particular party, I knew how passionate he was about ‘his guy’. I also knew that My Man was equally passionate against (no, perhaps MORE emphatic since he’s had several more years to form his negative opinion of that guy’s party) and I didn’t want the gravy to curdle over their differing opinions. Getting everyone happily soused is always one way to ensure a pleasant evening, but with politics, a happy soused guest can rapidly turn into a mean drunk. So I put the word out beforehand: Do not talk politics!!
With this election, feelings were running high. Being the good hostess that I am, I told everyone to park their political opinions at the door or they’d find themselves locked in the mudroom with The Pig (the beagle), fighting her off to get any morsels at all. (If I were still in the States, I’d tell guests to leave their guns at the door ’cause you can’t make assumptions these days. Opinions, guns…a deadly combo.)
Normally I enjoy a good political debate as much as the next person, but it’s been a long time since anyone in Canada really wanted to vote or felt passionate enough about one party to bother voting (witness the embarrassingly low voting numbers we’ve had in recent years.) Personally, I was so torn this time that I wanted to vote ‘None Of The Above’ . If it hadn’t been such a crucial election, I would have, just to send a message to all politicians to clean up their acts. So, using the time-honored tradition of holding my nose and crossing my fingers, I voted.
So what on earth did we talk about during dinner? What else IS there to discuss? I started a rant about organized religion, but it fizzled since we’re all pretty much of the same mind on that — although I often wonder if Crazy D is covering up his true opinions, what with his past fascination of all things offbeat and cultish, hippie dippy and New Agey. The evening passed with a lot of laughter and good stories. Everyone walked out alive, no broken bones, no cracked teeth. A success by any measure!
Gill had been urging us to vote (since Mr. Harper decreed that, having lived out of country for five years, she could no longer do so) and she wanted to know that at least her family was standing up for her. Came election day morning and I was awaiting Crazy D’s arrival. He had stayed at The Girlfriend’s the night before and was planning to cycle here from Guelph to vote. I know how random Crazy D is in his personal life. If it involves work, he’s the total professional — organized, on time, everything prepared. Personally, not so much. I held my tongue as he left after the dinner party but wondered if I’d rue the day I didn’t remind him to bring his I.D. with him. An almost 40-year-old man does not want Mommy reminding him to put socks on or remember all his stuff. Sadly…
Voting day arrived and with it, Crazy D, having cycled before dawn to arrive here by 9:30. I gathered up the voting registration cards and asked casually if he had I.D.
“Hmm,” he answered. “Funny story about that!”
My heart sank.
“I knew I’d need my driver’s license so I put it out on the kitchen table. I was in a bit of a flap to leave (when was it ever NOT a flap?) and grabbed my wallet, forgetting that the license wasn’t in it! I got halfway here and realized what I’d done but I wasn’t going back for it. I figured a credit card would do.”
And so we walked to our polling booth. They wouldn’t take any of his credit cards.
“What will we do?” he asked, crushed.
“Maybe I can vouch for you,” I said tentatively, all the while resisting the urge to say ‘I told you so’ and actually wanting to disown him, not claim him as mine!
But I relented. They pulled out a long form and told me to sign that he was who he said he was. I gave birth to him but, really, how many times should I have to claim him?
Our duty done, we walked home and discussed politics — all the stuff that was left over, verboten from the dinner party. Then Crazy D hopped on his trusty steed (bicycle) and pedaled back to Guelph. Gill checked to make sure we had done our civic duty and noted that, when the results were in, our new leader’s landslide was plastered all over The Guardian. She and her expat friends hoisted an ale to the winds of change.