Oakenshield doesn’t vote and how I spent my afternoon #richardarmitage


Thorin Oakenshield poses on the roof of my car, outside the town hall.

This morning, POP!Thorin and I drove to the town hall to do our civic duty — vote in the Wisconsin presidential primary (or “presidential preference,” as they seem to be calling them now).

Usually at our polling place, you walk in and vote and walk out, but there were an awful lot of cars in the parking lot today.

“Just so you know,” I said, “Usually we’re not allowed to take weapons into polling places. So you might want to leave your sword in the car.”

“I can’t leave Orcrist in the car!” he protested.

“Why not?” I asked.

“It’s stuck to my hand,” he noted.

“I’ll only take you in if you can hide in my pocket,” I said.

“But I’m going to vote,” he said.

“I don’t think so,” I said.

“I’ve researched all the issues!”


“Just between you and me, all of the candidates have been very silent on precious metal and jewel mining.”

Screen shot 2016-04-05 at 5.14.20 PM

Volunteers bring a ballot to a disabled voter.

“Where are they on dragon defense?”


“Elvish foreign policy?”

He seemed to be at a loss for words. Odd.

“What about off shore tax shelters for stateless short people with a lot of gold?”

“Omm—-” he continued to struggle. “I am the King! My mountain shelters my taxes.”

“Good point,” I said.

As I walked in I noticed the poll workers helping someone vote who was unable to leave his or her car. Curbside voting!

We got to the door and saw what counts as a long line around here. The first poll volunteer said that the wait was approximately forty minutes. I shook my head. The town has changed a lot since I voted here last, in 1998.


Line to enter the town hall.

We got in a little further and someone checked my address to see what ward we live in. I said I wasn’t registered.

“Me neither!” Thorin piped up.

“What?” the poll worker said.

“I thought you said you’d be quiet,” I said to my pocket.

I heard a muffled noise.

The worker looked at me a little oddly. “OK, then do you have identification?”

“I sure do,” I said. The news has been full of nothing lately but the new voter ID law.

“And have you lived in the state for at least 28 days?”

“Yes, sir.”

“OK, then go through that door on the left with the yellow sign.”

“I don’t have an ID,” Thorin whispers from my pocket.

“Doesn’t matter, ” I say. “You’re not a citizen.”

“I’m not?”


Thorin wanted to pose on the door handle, but it was hard to balance.

“You just said it, you’re the King under the Mountain!”

“Oh. Does that mean I can’t vote?”

“You can vote in Erebor. If there’s a constitutional revolution. And they leave you on the throne afterwards. Which would be doubtful, I think. Now be quiet.”

We enter the side room, I present my Wisconsin driver’s license and fill out a form. They look something up in a computer and print out a little sticker that verifies my eligibility. We leave the room and get back in the line.

I had initially planned to take pictures of Thorin watching me vote, but there was a shortage of places for him to pose and he didn’t feel comfortable. He felt like people were watching him.

Frankly, so did I. For the last fifteen years I’ve voted or caucused in huge city precincts where no one knew me. Here, I got to the head of the line where they put the sticker in a book and ask you to affirm your identity and address, and it was Mrs. P. from church taking the stickers. She passed me on to Mrs. M. from church to get my signature. And then they asked me whether I wanted a paper ballot or a touchscreen terminal. It was a weird moment. I didn’t think the church ladies would suppress my vote but I also didn’t want them seeing it. (Especially since I think I voted for someone they wouldn’t vote for.) So I opted for a touchscreen. And then, guess who was standing next to that, offering to explain it to me? Mrs. Q., whose daughter I played duets with in junior high and high school.

“I didn’t know you’d moved back,” she said.

“Big crowd here,” I remarked.

“It’s been packed all day,” she agreed. “We might get fifty percent turnout. Well, next year the town was going to open a second polling place anyway. Don’t you want the paper ballot?”

“Should I?” I ask. “It kind of reminds me of taking the SAT.”

“No,” she said, “Just the line is longer for the touchscreen.”

Eventually, I gave her my slip (voter #1304 in my ward) and proceeded to the machine. That was the easiest part. I selected my party (Wisconsin has an open primary but you can only vote in one contest) as I was not voting crossover this time, and picked a presidential candidate. Then I voted for appeals court judge, town supervisor, some county official, and school board. When I was done, the machine printed out a paper receipt that I could read, and then I pressed “cast ballot” and I was all done.


Thorin eyes the salsa from his perch in the basket of tortilla chips.

Mrs. Q. gave me a sticker.

“That was exhausting,” Thorin said.

“What was exhausting?”

“Being still that whole time and not poking you with my sword.”

“Quit it with the double entendres.”

“I’m serious! I wanted to cut a path to the head of the line.”

“Thank you for not embarrassing me, oh small overpriced piece of plastic.”

“I’d be insulted if I didn’t know you were kidding. I deserve a reward.”

“What do you want?”

“Can I have your sticker?”

“You didn’t vote.”

“OK, if I can’t have your sticker, let’s go to that hole in the wall Mexican place. They have two-for-one margaritas on Tuesdays.”

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“I have my ways,” he said.

“You’ve been going out with dad.”

“I’m not saying. But they’ve never said anything about my sword.”

There’s been a Mexican restaurant (or what counts as Mexican) in our little town for about ten years. It’s a bit of an  institution and it fulfills every stereotypical need that a Wisconsinite has of a Mexican restaurant.

Like this “Queso Oaxaca,” the contents of which are only notionally related to actual Oaxaca cheese. But we like it. Thorin really likes it.


Thorin contemplates a large portion of “queso Oaxaca.”

And these delightful tequila cocktails. In my experience the margarita is kind of a border and resort drink, but we’re happy to call it Mexican around here.


Picture taken to show scale. It would probably take hours for Thorin to drink it all.

“So,” Thorin said, as our drinks were arriving, “Who did you vote for for town supervisor?”

“Hi, Thorin,” the waiter said.

“You know the waiter?” I said to Thorin.

“Who did you vote for for town supervisor?” the waiter asked me.

“Who did you vote for town supervisor?” I ask the waiter.

Meanwhile, Thorin is scheming to get some of the margarita.


Thorin scales the chip basket to maneuver the margarita straw into his mouth.

“Hey, there,” I said. “Quit that! It’s too much for you.”

“We want the new fire station,” he said.

“So do I,” I said. “So I think we maybe voted for the same person.”

“It’s hard to vote here,” he said. “It’s like you don’t count in the town if your grandparents weren’t born here.”

“Tell me about it,” I said. “My family moved here forty years ago and they still call my dad a newcomer.”

“Tell me about it,” Thorin said. “I moved here three months ago and they won’t let me vote even though I’m King under the Mountain.”

“Have a sip of the margarita and calm down, little guy,” the waiter said. “So I want to vote for some new blood on the town board,” he said, “but I also want a fire station.”

“Excuse me,” he said, and went to seat some new customers.

I did mention that Tuesdays are two-for-one margaritas, didn’t I?


Little pointy-crowned Thorin joined us at the restaurant.

And that the guys get a little crazy when they’ve had margaritas?

As we got to the bottom of the second margarita, I told Thorin he needed to be quiet.

“I want your sticker,” he said.

“OK,” I said. “If you really want it!”



I kindly shared my sticker with POP!Thorin.


~ by Servetus on April 6, 2016.

32 Responses to “Oakenshield doesn’t vote and how I spent my afternoon #richardarmitage”

  1. I LOVE it when you go all whimsical on me! My daughters are watching The Hobbit tonight, and I even got to hear the song while I was reading….shivers..lol.

  2. So funny. ..I too, live and work (and vote) in the town where I grew up in, and voting becomes a huge “catch -up -with -the-neighbors -who -knew- you-when.” It’s kind of funny…and a little exhausting. You really deserved those 2 for 1 margaritas! 🍹

    • One thing I like about the Mexican restaurant is that they count as neighbors but they didn’t know me when, lol🙂

  3. What a hoot!! I couldn’t stop laughing. He can be a right little pain in the “you know what” when he gets all chatty like that! Still cute though – and I loved where the sticker ended up! You sure know how to deal with him. haha🙂

    • He’s frighteningly opinionated. I would not like to see what happens if he actually did get involved in politics.

  4. Loved hearing about your voting adventures with the king. The concept must have been quite confusing for him. I think voter turnout would be much higher if Margaritas came with the “I voted” sticker.

    • You AIN’T kidding. I should go to the next town meeting and propose that. There’s a bar within walking distance of the town hall.

  5. I’m surprised you waited so long to cover his mouth with that sticker. He was terribly argumentative, wasn’t he?

  6. Hahaha! Thank you,Serv🙂 It was very interesting and funny (BTW how you can stand those two guys on a daily basis?😉 )

    • Most of the time they sit on my desk while I’m someplace else. Well, four days a week, anyway🙂 Dad was away yesterday though and I didn’t like to leave them home alone. They mess with the television settings when we’re all away.

  7. Well done. And I am slightly appalled that there is a waiting time for voting… Although: presumably that is a good sign.
    Just heard that Cruz has won in Wisconsin. Lesser of two evils, I guess?

    • 40 minutes is nothing. The last time I voted in Florida I think it was over two hours (but Florida is sort of notorious as a problem place to vote). What felt odd is that when I used to vote here, there were 800 people in town and so you walked in and out. The polls were open all 13 hours but most of that time was dead and five volunteers handled the whole thing — farmers voted in the morning after milking; paper mill folks voted according to when their shifts ended, and the few white collar people voted after work. Now, apparently, there are ten times as many people living within the township and lots of stay at home moms among them so there are more people and there’s hard to pick a dead time. So when you add to that the very high interest in this particular election (due mostly to the GOP race, as far as I can tell), it’s not too surprising. Are there not lines to vote in Ireland?

      re: Cruz — well, I didn’t vote for him. I suspect, given the figures (52% of voters voted GOP yesterday) that probably a decent number of crossover voters DID vote for him in the “stop Trump” push. That figure is really significant as WI has gone Democratic in the general election every single time since, I believe, 1988. Trump played really badly here. WI is a place where civility matters and he is the opposite of that. And then there’s the whole woman question, which might have been acute here (it’s kind of hard to say, though). Cruz had the endorsements of all of the state GOP establishment as well, and Trump attacked Scott Walker (WI governor) and Paul Ryan (Speaker of the US House — from WI) very viciously, which will have hurt him. People either love or hate Walker but the people who love him really love him …

      OK. Back to fandom radio silence. I can feel my BP rising🙂

      • Hm, I don’t know – I have never experienced any lines when voting in Ireland. It’s a city centre constituency, it only has three cubicles for numbering your voting preferences, and yet there have never been more than five people in the room – and that includes the two officials and the Garda.
        Thanks for explaining the loyalties in WI – Cruz would not have been my choice, either. Maybe some people see him as a lesser evil than Trump?

        • Maybe some people do. I’m not sure that the GOP rank-and-file does. The leadership of the party hates both of them. The push from conservative pundits has been to embrace Cruz for that reason, but the national leadership has been pretty hesitant to go that route. Maybe this primary will have changed things.

  8. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 Brilliant, just brilliant! 😃

  9. Hehehehehehe. I mentioned voting to my POP!Thorin on Super Tuesday and he was aghast! Vote? What vote? He’s the King! You can’t vote the king out! I fear for when former/future boyfriend shows up.

  10. Simply brilliant!

  11. With some of the “hopefuls” and choices out there I think we all need a little Thorin and a few margaritas to go along with us. Make the time go a little bit nicer. Thanks your the chuckles. Must have been quite a day after reading your and little Thorin’s experience.

  12. A voté!

  13. Love your voting adventure with your Thorin!
    My Thorin went with me when I voted and noticed I wasn’t happy with any of the choices. He asked what I’d think if he ran for office of king until I told him we don’t have a king. I asked him what platform he’d run on. He said cement, paving tar, grass, dirt, whatever the ground cover is made no difference. He’d outrun all others…obviously doesn’t understand the differences between here and Middle Earth. He’s talking to his advisors, Balin and Gandalf, about his stands on issues. Maybe he will run.
    His campaign buttons are ready. Unfortunately I don’t know how to send you a picture.

  14. If Thorin is quite vocal when taken voting, I might leave him home when it is time for the Oz elections later this year. The last few elections I have avoided the queues on polling day (which is always a Saturday) by voting earlier in the week. This is also much easier that a postal vote. In Oz, voting is compulsory, and we sometimes find it strange when the news reports a high voter turnout of say 60%.

    • I’ve never been sure how I’ve felt about compulsory voting. Even on this ballot, the ballot would not let me not vote in one of the races where I didn’t recognize the person (local school board). It wouldn’t let me cast the ballot until I’d checked his name off. What do you think about it?

      • Sure we whinge about having to vote. But as it is compulsory, they have to make it easy for people to be able to vote (ie. postal & voting early), and therefore segments of the community cannot be excluded because of their inability to get to an inconveniently located polling place; or for any other reason. I think we see it has being a safe- guard against a vocal or organised minority group gaining undue power/influence. Although local issues do come into play; it is primarily about which party the candidate represents. By default the leader of the winning party is automatically the Prime Minister.

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