Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting out the vote

my mother is a mensch. she went to see aunty jo a few times in the hospital, especially when mo and i were in argentina, and has been threatening to pay her a visit at home ever since. last week, she made good on it. joyce is in fine form these days, probably the best we've seen her in ten years. for all that she demurs, i think she likes having her laundry done for her, and, allah be praised, she's using her walker. "i don't know if you knew this," she confides, "but i didn't used to care for the walker." "no?," i ask, ordering the muscles in my forehead to raise my eyebrows. "but, you know, it's actually very convenient. if i go to safeway, i can put things right into the basket." she points to the basket. she throws an accusatory look my way, for holding out on the best part: "also, if i get tired, i can sit down on the seat for a moment."

you don't say.

anyway, jo being in fine form, she enjoyed my mom's visit, which is also to say that she got her to check on a doctor's appointment, pick up a few things and then stand unsteadily on the bed in her bare feet to change a burnt-out bulb. having thus softened her prey, she -- i think the verb is "hornswaggled" -- mom into coming by again yesterday to take her out to vote.

mo and i agonized when we heard. see, we know two facts about jo and elections. fact one: four years ago, joyce announced that if she lived in the US she would vote for george bush "because his wife is really pretty." fact two: jo lives in a swing riding, the one riding in alberta that might not go conservative. mo and i whipped over to the elections canada site to review the candidates: conservative incumbent rahim jaffer, liberal candidate claudette roy, and NDP contender linda duncan. how would joyce vote? what was she thinking? we figured the french name put paid to the liberal. we know she'll always go for the man, in this case particularly if she saw a picture of RJ, who is politically odious but in a dishy sort of way. but would handsome trump white? could you get any more good old-fashioned anglo-saxon solid-citizen than "linda duncan"?

as it happens, we needn't have worried. mom writes:

As Joyce is putting on her shoes, she says something about voting, which I didn’t catch so I just did the discreet “Hmmmm.” Then on the way up the ramp – what a trek – down the sidewalk, around the building, circle the flower beds, round the stairs to the ramp, up the ramp, the wind blowing icily around our ears the entire time – she says something to me about McBain. Catching on, I explain that Mr McCain is in the US election. She looks a little confused. So I tell her we have Mr Harper and Mr Dion, Mr Layton and Ms May. No help. We shuffle behind the cardboard shield – which I proceed to knock over - and I read out, in a good strong voice, the names and the parties – no doubt to the consternation of the scrutineers. She looks a little more confused and whispers to me “what should I do?”

to my mother's credit, she couldn't bring herself to have the dear old soul vote for the marxist/leninist party, so they "chose someone else."

the voting out of the way, jo moved on to the real agenda: how about a trip to kingsway mall, she angled, and then boston pizza for lunch?

and that's really the thing about elections, isn't it. everybody's got an agenda; it's often obscure; somebody's always surprised; somebody's always disappointed (there was no BP yesterday) -- yet sometimes, just sometimes, there's a happy ending in spite of it all.

linda duncan won by 442 votes. and who knows: one of them might have been jo's.

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