The gig is up.
It was with great hilarity that my son phoned me on election day to ask if I had voted.
Actually, I didn't take the call at first, because I was busy actually voting and having a private chuckle about the various party options (a friend told me they voted for the pirate party and we wondered if the senate might be full of parrots). I called him back and we played phone tag for a bit, before he made that revealing call.
I thought it was nice of him to remind me, until he asked if I had phoned his siblings yet. As it happened, I hadn't.
But yes, I am guilty of making those calls most election days. Not wanting my children to face a fine, I may have phoned them with a little reminder to vote. It started off with the direct question, but eventually morphed into a subtle and skilfully worded aside.
I would gently add in that throw-away line about having just got back from voting. Or I might tell them about the neighbours I met while voting. Or maybe talk a little about recycling of the flyers handed out before voting. Or the parking difficulties at the booth. You get the idea.
Mine was the skilful and sublimal art of suggestion. The seed I felt was planted. The rest was up to them.
One year, the seed did in fact bear fruit, having phoned my oldest son only 30 minutes before the end of polling day (that was before I had mastered the suggestive art form and the direct approach was wearing thin) and him racing to the booths before they closed.
For all my due diligence in making sure that all Muller names are crossed off the list, my own was overlooked last time I voted and I received a letter. I was ready with witnesses if necessary (I did meet my neighbours while voting that year), but the irony of me being the great reminder wasn't lost.
This time I watched the man connect the dots from my name, just to make sure.
My children have grown and I figure them for responsible voting citizens. No phone calls were made. It seems they have missed them. It seems that what I call subtle, they call a clanger, a clanger that causes a louder laugh than parrots in the senate.
- Linda Muller
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