…I walked into a voting booth at 7:45 in the morning for the first time in my life. I’ve only voted once before — in 2004, by absentee ballot for my home state of Texas (much good that did). And everyone is right: there’s something really powerful about exercising your right to vote, getting in that booth, marking off your choices, and scanning ’em in. I’m proudly wearing my “I Voted!” sticker today, and I hope you are too.
Also on this day, 6 years ago, I went on my first date with Joe. We had become friends a few weeks before, after we randomly met at the season opening football game. Since we lived on the same floor of the dormitory, we saw each other around a lot, and in those early weeks of school a familiar face is always welcome. We had taken to sitting next to one another in a God-awful 8 a.m. class on Monday mornings, chit-chatting when we should’ve been listening and taking notes. The first time Joe saw my handwriting he said it looked like a boy’s.
As first semester freshman both new to Los Angeles, everything around campus felt so foreign and unfamiliar. I had recently discovered a Subway across the street from campus in a large shopping complex, and was excited for something–anything!–that was a change from the usual dorm food.
Class had just ended, and we walked out into the sunshine together, awkward, because it was becoming more apparent that we liked hanging around the other person.
“Did you know there’s a Subway across the street in the University Village?” I asked him.
“No!” he said, “That’s awesome.”
“Well, um, I was thinking about going there for lunch,” I said, “Would you want to go?”
I found out years later that he totally knew that Subway was there. He’d discovered it weeks before, and had regularly been bringing home grilled chicken sandwiches to his dorm room. But he’s a smart one, and figured the only way to finagle an invite was to feign excited ignorance.
At lunch that day, we talked about the usual things that new college freshmen discuss: where they’re from, why they chose that college, what clubs or sports they were involved in during high school, where their friends are going to school, and their dreams for the next four years. I found out that Joe used to play tennis in high school, and was really quite good at it. I asked him if he would teach me how to play sometime. He took his opening.
6 years later, we still love to eat together, except now we get sandwiches from the family owned deli that’s just down the street from our apartment. We still talk about our days, our dreams. Instead of friends from separate states, we now share many friends we’ve made over the years. I try to teach him how to cook. We gave up on teaching me tennis long ago.
Joe has a well-known soft spot for Mexican food, and in honor of the day–both for this historic election and our time together–I’m making enchiladas suizas for dinner tonight. I found a recipe from a Mexican cookbook I was given several years ago, and spent part of the afternoon yesterday comal-roasting tomatillos, chillis, garlic and onion for the homemade salsa verde. I also made an out-of-this-world sour cream sauce, which is perfect for cooling off the spiciness from the salsa verde. Tonight, I need only form the enchiladas and bake them. We’ll sip on margaritas while we watch election results come in, and cap off the night with a glass of Prosecco. It’s an anniversary-election night that is so very us.