By Bharat Ayyar
NEW HAVEN, 4:09 p.m. — Seven months ago, I became a United States citizen. And today, I cast my first ballot.
I’ll admit it: it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I thought it would be. I arrived at my designated polling location — the New Haven Public Library on Elm Street — and got in line. There was no chatter, no fanfare. People mostly kept to themselves; they were reading books, texting on their cellphones and staring into space.
Where I envisioned a cascade of high-fives for every person who passed the queue on his way out, there were just glazed over eyes (okay, maybe a smile or two). Where I envisioned a smattering of students, professors and New Haven residents belting out the national anthem, there was just muffled chatter about tomorrow’s problem set.
No matter. I waited my turn. I gave them my name. I cast my ballot.
I was luckier than one gentleman, who was in line in front of me. He had already tried to vote at another polling station, which referred him to the one I was at. But when it was his turn to vote, they referred him back to the polling station he came from. Clearly upset, he left without much of a fight. (I wonder, did he have the patience to go back?)
As he walked away, one of the volunteers working at booth said, quite simply: “Damn.”
I ran into a member of last year’s Yale Daily News editorial board, as I was leaving the library.
“Hey,” she said, expecting, I think, me to stop-and-chat about tonight’s newspaper.
For whatever reason, I didn’t stop walking (sorry, K). Instead, I just pumped my fist and blurted out the first thing that came to my mind: “God bless America.”