Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Journalists vote, too: a great day for it in Florida

Above, I vote at the student center of Brevard Community College in Melbourne. I hope you can't see my choices. The photo is actually a screen shot from a video I took in the "booth." Below, I proudly wear my sticker. And this is the first time I have worn a tie since moving to Florida. I thought Election Day was an appropriate time to do it.

Today is a glorious day - for more than one reason.

First, it's the best weather day I have experienced in Florida. It feels like a warm spring day in Maine - not too hot, not too cold ... just right. About 70. Low humidity.

I got up early to vote in the primary. And, man, was I happy to do so. It gave me more time to enjoy this lovely Tuesday.

I first took a run to start things off right. But my run didn't start on the right foot: As I shut the house door behind me, I realized I didn't have my keys. I was locked out. I remembered, though, that I had left my window cracked open. So I jumped the wooden fence surrounding the house, took out the screen of my bedroom window and shimmied through it.

I grabbed my keys, my camera (after I realized the weather was so great), and I ran.

It was just like spring in Maine.

A controlled burn in the park, left, and the smell of smoke reminded me of the spring burning of blueberry fields in Maine.

A creek gurgled with pure water, instead of the usual muddy stuff - just like the spring snow runoff in Maine.

Flowers seemed to blossom anew, left, though I know they show their pretty faces year-round here.

Teenage girls walked down the sidewalk toward me, one with a Fudgesicle, the other with an ice cream cone - reminiscient of the first tastes of summer in Maine.

Cars drove by with windows rolled down: the Maine version of air conditioning.

Butterflies blew on the breeze.

A grasshopper jumped from the sidewalk, attempting to cross the road, but was met with the grill of a monstrous Ford Expedition. I almost think the bugs during Maine's spring are worse than Florida's year-round species.

There was even a dead fish on the sidewalk, left. Lakeside residents of Maine tend to see a lot of fish washing ashore during the springtime. It was a strangely soothing smell, though I wouldn't want to be "soothed" by it for too long. I snapped a photo, then continued running.

People were in a field flying a remote-control helicopter, below.

I got home. I showered. Then, I went to vote, left. "Precinct 180," I told the "sheriff" standing guard at the polls at the student center of the local community college. I was wearing my FLORIDA TODAY badge, thinking it would afford me preferential treatment as one voter from a local defense contractor, Harris Corp., experienced, according to reporter Rick Neale's blog. I wasn't as lucky, so I had to show my voter ID and driver's license. I grabbed my ballot, anguished over my votes, filled in the proper ovals, fed it through the black box and I was done.

It brought back memories of the PSATs and SATs in high school. The only thing new was the lack of privacy in which I voted. In Maine, I usually had a curtained booth to shield me from other voters - especially from the Democrats.

But everything has been so easy today. I wonder if the trend will persist at work.

On the way to work, I stopped at a 7-Eleven for a brew. As I handed over the cash for an iced tea (which should be a first-nice-day-of-the-year tradition everywhere), the cashier remarked, "Beautiful day out there, isn't it?"

That's an understatement.

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