“I have to do my civic duty. I don’t have time for this,” a woman groans aloud.

She has a purse over her shoulder, perfectly matching her red power-suit and pumps. She looks at her wrist-watch and notes only one more hour before the polls close.

A man wearing a flannel jacket and flappy shoes lurches happily across the sidewalk, wavering back and forth. He carries a plastic bag bulging with mysterious contents that he swings with each unsteady stride.

The woman announces her presence behind the man by clearing her throat multiple times, “Ahem, ahem, ahem.” Heavy traffic stops her from stepping into the road to go around the man and her heels are clearly not made for walking through the deep gravel on the other side.

The throat clearing goes without notice.  This man is impossible, she thinks. He’s never going to move. I’m trapped back here.

“Tra, la, la, la la,” the man breaks into song. “Deck the halls with…” he mumbles and hums the last words.

Suddenly, he stops in the middle of the sidewalk to look in the plastic bag. The woman stumbles forward as she tries to catch herself.

“Move,” the woman yells.

She is angry at this disruption in her path of motion and angry at the inconvenience of being at the same place and time as this bum. Anger, as powerful as it is, doesn’t stop her from falling and knocking the man, already unstable with ill-fitting shoes and an over-indulgence of Four Roses, into the busy street.

“I have a civic duty,” the woman whispers to herself and continues quickly onward to fulfil her sacred responsibility.

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