"Oh, hey, S.P.," a coworker greeted me in that Seattle tone of voice. If you live here, you know which one I mean. It's the been-there, done-that, can-barely-breathe-I-am-so-cool voice. He continued:
"I didn't think you'd be at work today."
Why not? Because it was the day after the last presidential election, and Bush had been given a pat on the butt for another four years.
"Yeah," I replied. "I still have to make a living, so..."
I didn't see much point in talking politics that day, but my coworkers and I had one of those jobs where, if you don't make conversation you pass out from boredom. So over the course of the day I learned that several people in the room, including ones who couldn't say enough about how stupid Bush was, had not bothered to vote. They had the full spectrum of Seattle excuses:
"The election's over by the time it reaches Washington state. I saw the TV results and decided to stay home."
"I didn't like Kerry, so what's the alternative?"
"I haven't voted in years. There's just no Democrat who can beat Bush anyway."
Now, this might sound like a huge change of topic, but stick with me for a moment.
The same coworkers laughed the day I went outside with a fellow cat lover and rescued two kittens that had fallen from an apartment window into the parking lot. It was a busy street, and I was certain that two indoor kittens would be killed in traffic if I didn't do something. So two of us ran out, grabbed the kittens, and took them back to their apartment. The tenant wasn't home, so we had to find a ladder and push the kittens back into their apartment. We then sealed up the torn window screen and left a note on the apartment door explaining what happened.
The same coworker who greeted me with the so-laid-back-I'm-almost-dead voice said: "I wouldn't have bothered!"
I'm sure he's right. The cool thing would have been to sit in our climate controlled work room and watch two small animals get crushed by speeding automobiles right in front of us.
I'm happy to say I am not a person who prizes coolness. I will always be the clown who climbs the ladder. No problem.