Nobody is more relieved than me that West Virginia voters have decided who will square off in this October’s special election for governor.
The choice to pit Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin against Morgantown Republican Bob Maloney means I no longer need my wheelbarrow to retrieve my mail. To be honest, without all those campaign ads spilling out of my box, I hardly receive any mail at all, anymore. Which makes it somewhat baffling why I even bothered to lug all that paper up to the house in the first place. I should have just placed a trash can by the mailbox.
Thankful as I am that I no longer have to deal with an overabundance of mail aimed at influencing my vote, the end of this phase of the race also means I have a better chance at getting more sleep.
My pillow is my best friend, but we don’t spend nearly enough quality time together. That’s because my job requires that I work unusual hours. Lately, I’ve had to tear myself away from my pillow’s comforts at 1:00 am to ensure I have enough time to drive to Washington, DC and be at work by 3:00 am.
That’s a hard schedule to keep. It requires that I attempt to snooze before most other people even sit down to dinner. It’s also when sleep is the last thing on kids’ minds.
For instance, my nine year-old daughter is learning to play the piano. To make matters worse, the living room wall is the only thing that separates the piano from where I lay my head. My eyes vibrate with each note she strikes.
It also doesn’t help that my 13-year-old son needs practice time with his guitar and that our giant dog never fails to pick the precise moment that I’m nodding off to start chomping on his favorite squeaky toy.
Early evening is also prime time for phone calls, especially from political campaigns. A cheery recorded voice telling me how amazing a particular candidate is doesn’t make me cheery at all.
It doesn’t happen often, but there are periods when the musical instruments are silent, the kids aren’t bickering, the dog isn’t barking and all is right with the world. It’s during those precious moments when I try to sneak off for a little shuteye.
When one such opportunity presented itself a few days before the election, I stepped over our prostrate dog, tiptoed to my bedroom (so as not to disturb the equilibrium), shut the door and took a sleeping pill to make myself nod off that much faster.
The silence was golden. It was a gift.
I remember thinking “it won’t be long now.”
That was right before the doorbell rang.
I tried to ignore it but my daughter wouldn’t let me. Our kids aren’t allowed to answer the door when my wife and I aren’t around.
“Daddy?” she whispered as she slowly peered into my bedroom. “There’s a man at the door.”
By that time, the pill I’d taken had a firm grip on me and I was in kind of a hazy place. I grumbled something or other, put on a pair of shorts, went to the door shirtless (not good, especially for a man of my age and condition) and discovered a campaign worker going door-to-door touting his candidate for governor.
I must have growled something incoherent as I took the pamphlet he offered, shut the door and stumbled back to bed. Just before I fell asleep I remember thinking, “my wife probably knows that guy and I’ve just really, really embarrassed myself.”
She did. She told me the next day that she got a phone call from him telling her about our awkward encounter.
It wasn’t one of my more prouder moments. But at least now I can sleep easier. That is, until October rolls around.