The Return of Student Council Voting Season

Once a year, They emerge.

Nobody knows where They come from, but there are always signs before they appear. Posters up in the campus hallway. Smiling faces with names and slogans alongside them, uninformative promises like “for a better change” or “because you deserve better”. There are so many of them that, really, I don’t think anyone cares to remember them all, but they should. And they soon discover that they should.

Because then that week comes. That week where They emerge, and chaos erupts.

Because They’re everywhere. The smiling faces have burst free from their posters, and suddenly, they’re right there in front of you.

“Have you voted yet?” They ask again and again, stopping you on your way to class, clogging up the already busy halls so that no one can get through.

“Have you voted yet?”

“Have you voted yet?”

“Have you voted yet?”

Sometimes, They’re smart too. They’ll open up with a compliment, draw you in with niceties so that it’s impolite to walk away. You can tell them that you’re busy, but then they always say the same thing. “Oh, it’ll just take a second” but it won’t take a second. They’ll ramble on with the exact same uninformative promises that were written all over Their posters, and you will be late for class, or lose all that down-time you were depending on for your sanity. They will make sure of that.

There are only three ways to avoid Them. You can wear a sticker on your shirt that answers their question for them. “Have you voted yet?” They ask, and your sticker proudly proclaims, “Yes, I have”. A little too proudly, is the only problem. Because that sticker is red and large, and you have no idea what it means. What is this party that the sticker says I voted for? What are their ideals? What am I supporting right now? I have no idea, because the only thing they told me were those same uninformative promises. Maybe this sticker means that I support funding for bombing infants. Maybe this sticker means that I support Trump. Maybe this sticker just means that I want another cafeteria on school, but how the fuck do I know, and the looks I’m getting with this big, red dot on my coat is making me uncomfortable.

So I take the sticker off, and suddenly, I’m left with the second way to avoid Them: answer their questions verbally. “Have you voted yet?” “Yes, I have,” and if you’re lucky, they’ll let you move on. If you’re unlucky, they’ll ask you if you want a sticker to prove that you did. Fuck it all, just let me go to class, you sticker-wielding weirdo from the poster!

And if you really want to avoid Them, if you don’t want to deal with the constant barrage of “Have you voted yet” as you walk through the halls, you can always turn to option three: just avoid Them completely. But, you see, that isn’t easy either, because they’re everywhere. They form a chain through the school’s main hall. They float around Starbucks while you wait for your coffee. They try to look inconspicuous around every building, smiling politely to everyone who passes by with a sticker, and stopping everyone who passes by without one to ask “Have you voted yet?” So, really, your best bet is to avoid buildings all together. Nice, warm, heated buildings, the only sanctuary from these Canadian winters where the air feels tight and sharp and painful, and you really just want to be inside, but you can’t, because you know what awaits you there.

“Have you voted yet?”

“Have you voted yet?”

“Have you voted yet?”

Voted for what!? you want to scream to the world, but you can’t, because you’re too busy trying to avoid Them.

And then, at last, after a full week of frustration and avoidance, They return to hibernation. Nobody ever discovers what the results of the voting was. Nobody really cares. All that they care about is that the poster-people have slunk back inside their prisons of paper and ink, and some college-aged boy has decided to make them stay there by ripping the poster up and leaving it to be trampled on the ground. They are gone, and for now, we are safe.

But we always know that they are there, waiting to return, and next year, they will.

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