As I left my flat this morning, instead of turning right to go to the LUAS stop, I swung left. Today I planned to walk to the bus stop, instead of my usual semi-conscious slouch on the tram. Not because I had turned over a new leaf and now loved mornings however. By walking to the bus stop, I would pass the St. Laurence O’Toole primary school – my local polling station. In my grubby, little paws was clenched my voting card. In my stylish man-bag, my passport in case the Feds asked me for ID. With a purposeful strut I entered the school. Not a student was to be seen. As a child, I loved general elections and referenda, for the simple reason that it always meant a day off school – primary schools being the usual location for the physical practice of democracy.
It was like going back in time entering the building. The atmosphere of a school, whether it be in Dublin or Limerick or Amsterdam seems universal – a place of youth and energy and learning. The smell of fear.
I entered the classroom and produced my voting card. The gentleman behind the desk checked my name off the list. The woman beside him took a voting slip, stamped it for validation and handed it to me. She told me to go to the polling booth, to make my choice and to insert my completed slip into the black voting box.
I went to the polling booth and read the slip.
The question was simple.
‘Do you approve of the proposal to amend the Constitution contained in the undermentioned Bill?
Thirty Sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018
Place a mark in one square only
If you approve mark X in in this square…….
If you do not approve mark X in this square……..’
I read it again. Just to make sure that overnight, the wording hadn’t changed.
I marked my X in the ‘Approve’ box.
I placed my slip in the voting box.
I bid farewell.
I went to work in the wastelands.
By this time tomorrow I will know whether I have to move back to Amsterdam or not.