Mancation, Part II: Finding Jesus on Election Day
The reason I was going to Arizona was for a freelance assignment for a non-partisan Web site that tracks election policy nationwide. They sent me out to cover the elections in Florida four years ago and in Pittsburgh two years ago. I guess they like my work. Also, it helps that GoPats is one of the head honchos there and feels sorry for me.
The assignment ended up being fortuitous since my friends Susie Q and Special K live in Scottsdale. I hadn’t seen them in perhaps 7 years so I was really excited to spend some time with them. Susie Q said I could stay with her so I embarked for the Grand Canyon State looking forward to reuniting.
At the Phoenix airport, I rented a PT Cruiser and asked for the GPS navigation system, which I secretly love because of the woman’s sexy voice telling me what to do. “Turn right.” Yes, order me around, you sexy global positioning system.
I spent all day Tuesday driving around the Phoenix metro area, hitting such great spots like Scottsdale and Tempe. There’s really nothing to describe about Arizona you can’t learn about from watching Road Runner cartoons. A lot of open land, cacti, and heat. Oh, and strip malls. Lots and lots of strip malls. And more strip malls.
Though I was working as a non-partisan, impartial reporter, I listened all day to Air America hoping that what the prognosticators were saying would be true. I stopped at many polling places and asked elections workers and voters how voting was going (if you really care to read my report, go to Electionline.org Election Day blog), and called in to the DC office with occasional reports.
At the Tempe public library, I stopped to file a report and use their free Internets and was amazed at what I saw: EVERY KID WAS ON MYSPACE, or The ‘Space, as Tasha calls it (read her Thursday post on MySpace, very funny).
One of the issues I was looking for in particular was Arizona’s new law requiring ID at the polls. But reporting in mostly white areas wasn’t yielding me a lot of interesting reports. So, thanks to my trusty GPS woman, I drove to Guadalupe, AZ, a 1-sqaure-mile, mostly Latino community that, though poor, was spectacularly beautiful. There was an amazing church sitting at the edge of a dirt lot and many of the mostly poor residents I spoke to were warm and welcoming.
When I got to downtown Phoenix, I found Jesus. Literally.
I stopped into City Hall to use the bathroom and when I came out of the stall, a Latino bathroom attendant asked me, in Spanish, if I spoke Espanol. I don’t exactly look like a Latin, so I replied, “Si, como sabias?” (How did you know?). This is the conversation that followed:
“No se, queria ver. Como te llamas?” (I don’t know, just wanted to see if you did. What’s your name?)
“Mucho gusto.” (My pleasure.)
“El gusto es mio.” (The pleasure is all mine.)
“Ah. Che, sabes donde votas por aqui?” (Oh. Hey, do you know where one votes around here?)
At this point, I started to leave the bathroom.
“Tan rapido te vas?” (You’re leaving so soon?)
“Eh, si, tengo que trabajar.” (Uh, yeah, I have to go work.)
“Que pena.” (What a shame.)
“Eh, ok, chau.” (Uh, ok, bye.)
I got out of there wondering why he thought I would stay in the bathroom with him when I realized that, even in Phoenix, I am as attractive as I think I am.
I filed my last story of the night after the polls closed and got ready to go out with Susie Q and Special K.
To be continued: Mancation, Part III: Sushi and Dirty Friends, Phoenix Style