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Keep Houston Press Free
4

On The Bus, Not Many Voters

It’s election day, 10:30 a.m. and I’m sitting on the #85 bus. I’m in the front section, where two double bench seats face each other, making for easy conversation.

“So did everybody vote already?” I ask.

No answer. A few ears perk up, the bus driver glances in his rear view mirror to see who’s talking, but no one says anything.

“It’s election day, everybody voted, right?”

No answer.

I make eye contact with a young woman in a pizza place uniform. “Did you vote?”

“¿Que?”

Nevermind.

I smile at a guy in work boots and a baseball hat. “Did you vote?”

“Ah, I ….uh, (cough, cough) ah …”

“He can’t vote,” his buddy laughs. “He’s a felon.”

“So are you,” shoots back the first guy.

Okay, that’s three down.

I try an older black guy in dress slacks and two-toned shoes. “Did you vote?”

He’s about to answer when the bus driver says, “Hey, you can’t be bothering people. There’s no soliciting on the bus.”

“I’m not soliciting ….”

“Don’t do that on the bus,” he says firmly.

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The black man smiles a little, leans across the aisle to tell me, and tells me in a stage whisper, “I don’t mind telling you, miss, I voted early. I’d vote again, if I could.” A few heads in the front rows nod and smile. “I’d vote all day, but … sorry, this is my stop.”

I look around, looking for someone else to ask, and a hefty woman across from me frowns and says, “Don’t even ask me, you already know I didn’t.”

I sit back, deflated. Out of the six people sitting near me, one’s an immigrant, two are felons, one voted early, one didn’t vote, and one wants me to stop soliciting. Here’s hoping the averages on the #85 Metro aren’t any indication of what the city does as a whole.

Olivia Flores Alvarez

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