Election Day Blues.

I feel really really badly about something.  Shall I share it here?

For the first time since 1992 when I proudly yanked the lever for Bill Clinton (God, I love that man) and Al Gore’s ticket, I am not voting.  Yes, you heard me right.  Not participating in the democratic process.  Not doing my civic duty.  Not letting my voice be heard.  Not voting.

I guess I’ll go ahead and provide some back-story, but – as you and I both know – anything I say right now is really just a pitiful attempt at making excuses for something for which there are no good excuses.  So here I go, anyway, with the pitiful excuses.

In January I moved to Florida and took to calling the address of my childhood home, where Mrs. Johnny Rocket resides, my permanent address.  It seemed much more truthful than directing Chase and AT&T and anyone else who cared to locate me to my Toyota Rav 4, which is where I seem to spend most of my time.  Until I settle down in Austin early next year, Gainesville, Florida is where I officially reside.

(Unless it’s Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas calling.  In which case I reside at my friend Stacia’s house on East 16th Street in Austin, Texas.  Scout’s honor, BCBS.)

As I navigated the logistical waters that one finds oneself swimming in after a major life upheaval and relocation such as mine, I managed to zero in on an upside to my newly re-claimed Florida residency:  I could register and vote for President in a state where my vote might actually have an impact.  Of course, for the sake of propriety and manners and not being gauche, I’m not going to say who I would have voted for today if I had voted.  But let’s just say that New York (my previous state of residence) is pretty much a lock for this candidate while Florida is very much up for grabs.  As I contemplated changing my voter registration in January, Florida made sense.  Florida was where I could make a difference.

Here’s the big sticking point:  I am a major procrastinator.  Seriously.  In college, I wrote practically all of my papers the night before.  I crammed for tests just hours before sitting down, blue book and #2 pencil in hand.  If your birthday is on Thursday, I’m buying your card and gift on Wednesday.  Okay, Thursday.  If I absolutely must pay my Am Ex bill by midnight on November 13, I’m logging in at 11:59:59.  You get the picture, yes?  I am a major procrastinator.  And that’s what happened.  I procrastinated.  I didn’t do it in time.  I didn’t register to vote in Florida before the deadline came and went.

No problem though, right?  Because I’m still registered to vote in New York.

Uh oh.  Another confession.  In addition to being a procrastinator I’m also an incurable optimist, especially when it comes to my own personal failings.  Time and again, I allow myself to believe that, just this once, I won’t get in my own way.  In this case, I felt certain that I’d do it in time, that I would meet the deadline, register in Florida, and give the reds a blue run for their money (there I go being gauche).  When it became clear that that wasn’t going to happen, it also became clear that receiving an absentee ballot from the state of New York addressed to my moving vehicle (the Grand Canyon one day, Arches the next; Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Oh My!) would be next to impossible.  As a result, my stubborn procrastination and my unflinching optimism collided in what can only be described as a horrific hopeless hapless mess and I ended up missing two state’s deadlines instead of just one.  This nomad would be a no show in November.

I’ll say it again so that my shame can be complete: I am not voting today.  And, as I sit here in Atlanta, Georgia where the polls are still open and where people are lining up down the block even as the skies open up and showers rain down, and I think about my friends in New York and New Jersey who are wading through the aftermath of Sandy to make their voices heard, I feel like a real jackass.  A real screw-up.

For the first time in twenty years, I’m not voting.  And I know this to be true: If this all goes horribly wrong and the other guy wins, I’m partly to blame.  I guess I deserve what I get, but you guys don’t, you really don’t.  Fuck.  I’m sorry, America.