Bedlam is defined, among other things, as “a scene of uproar and confusion” (Oxford English Dictionary (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/bedlam)
Its origin is the Late Middle English early form of Bethlehem. It referred to St. Mary of Bethlehem in London, which was used for an institution for the insane.
While there may be some exaggeration here, it is not by much.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I was operating on about 3 1/2 hours of sleep due to neighborhood noisage. So I was not in the best of moods when I arrived at the polling site.
This was my first experience.
The “coordinator” (and I use sarcastic quotation marks) was complacent and imperative doing practically nothing to help the process along.
I was given the phrase “Teamwork Makes Dream Work” at my training session.
My impression was she had been at this too long and should have had a refresher course in leading others to work as a team.
I was supposed to be a relief worker for breaks, etc.
Coffee was my God.
One of the co-workers at my table was a young man with entitlement issues the size of Jupiter who had to take a smoke break every half hour.
The other was a mother with seven children and one grandchild.
There had been much re-districting and many people were not on the list.
We had to issue many affidavit ballots.
There was much confusion and frustration.
Despite the apparent absence of leadership skills of our “coordinator”, some of the supervisors rose to the occasion and helped things go more smoothly.
I am very grateful to them.
I discovered I still enjoy working with public, although not in 16 hour stretches.
I snitched on the scanner worker who stole the stickers from our table. The supervisor was sympathetic. The “coordinator” was not.
My love for humanity was complete when a Hindi woman, literally and physically supported by her family, in hospital socks, came to vote.
Every single person who entered with a cane, a walker, or carrying young humans in tow deserved more than just a sticker.
I wanted to give them balloons, parades, confetti and champagne.
The Democratic voters outnumbered Republicans by about 19% at least by my table.
I spoke to about two Sanders supporters (we weren’t supposed to speak about politics to the voters).
I surprised myself by focusing on doing my best to make it as easy as possible for every single person at the polling site to cast their vote.
And not on who would win.
I would do it again, but not if I had to work with the same coordinator.
I was proud to be an integral part of the democratic process.