"What is this — the 1800s?" "I better get an iPad mini at the end!" "This is the line for gas, right?"
Odds are if you vote in New York City today, you'll hear some variation of these jokes. To be fair, over the last seven days, New Yorkers might have spent more time collectively waiting in line than any week since the Great Depression, and only a sliver of that was by choice. From the Apple store to makeshift bus shuttles to gas stations, the waits have been interminable and endlessly Instagrammed. In fact, the only thing that hasn't faltered throughout these trying days is people's unabashed willingness to broadcast their (in a some cases, justified) impatience to the world.
Yes, the lines at the polls are long: There was, as you may have heard, a huge hurricane last week that upended the organization of many polling stations and required some last-minute improvisation. Even without a natural disaster days before the main event, we live in a city of 8 million people, half of whom are registered voters — there was always going to be a wait.
One difference this time around is that not-unique anticipation of standing around a high-school gym before filling in a few bubbles can be documented exhaustively by the millions of people plugged into to an array of linked social media profiles. Just in case you thought you and your neighborhood were alone in your frustration:
Incredibly long voting lines in Brooklyn this morning: instagr.am/p/RschaKi3CG/— Adam Henry (@viewofadam) November 6, 2012
That was the longest line I've ever waited in for anything. #vote— Dustin Blanchard (@dblanchard) November 6, 2012
Voting line in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Bkln, took ~3 hours but scanning was fast & unproblematic. cc @nytmetro— Stephanie Clifford (@stephcliff) November 6, 2012
Voting at PS 234 in NYC taking hours. People giving up on line. I know NY doesn't matter but hang in there people!— Campbell Brown (@campbell_brown) November 6, 2012
The poll workers in NYC's 35th district are abysmal. Line around the block and no one in voting booths. Mass confusion.— jennifer long (@jennifer_k_long) November 6, 2012
Now, there are plenty of patriotic individuals standing around with a smile, fully aware of the fact that exercising their right to vote is a wonderful privilege, that there are people still suffering and in line because they have to be, and that texting your friends while standing beats being at work.
To everyone else, relax — it's almost over. And civic duty aside, at least at the end of the voting line, you don't have to spend any money.