Last June I turned the magical age of 18 and that meant the world had officially crowned me an adult. Which apparently means I am now responsible enough to live on my own, take care of myself, pay my own bills and of course: to vote. Yes, that’s correct today, the 18th of March 2015, will go into history as my very first voting day. I do not know if it is very sensible to give me this responsibility since I cannot even decide whether to put nutella or peanut butter on my bread in the morning, let alone which party suits me best. Apparently being 18 years old, however, means being able to make decisions for the sake of your country. So I did what was expected of me, a responsible Dutch adult, and took the voting test to form an opinion on something I do not know anything about: politics. I probably took the voting test (stemwijzer for the Dutchies) three times and every single time another political party ended up at the top. I eventually chose the party with the nicest sounding name, took my voting pass and went on my way to vote. One of the most adulty things I have ever done in my entire life, as the only people in my life who ever talked about politics were my parents and news anchors.
Voting pass in one hand and ID in the other: I was ready to go. I do not know what I expected, but I do know that the voting itself was not as spectacular as I hoped it to be. Behind a table there were three people: a man who desperately tried to cover up his bald head, a middle-aged woman and a very bored looking guy, and they checked whether I was who my ID said I was. And I was legal! So they gave me a ballot with lots of names on it and I went into a booth. A booth without a curtain, which was disappointing. I kind of hoped there’d be a little black curtain, because for some reason in my head voting is something personal and without a curtain it feels exposed. Then I realized that voting is not that personal and it most definitely does not need a curtain. The ballot and the red pencil in front of me remained untouched for just a moment, as I was in doubt whether I should take a selfie of this historical moment or not. I decided not to, after all there were no curtains and everybody would have seen me take a picture, which would have been embarrassing. And with everybody, I mean the three people behind the table.
When I had made up my mind I grabbed the famous pencil and found out that it was attached to this huge chain as if someone would steal the thing. The voting became 10 times as intense because of that chain, also the police warning in the booth that told me that ‘I DO NOT HAVE TO SHARE MY VOTE WITH ANYONE IF I DO NOT WANT TO’ did not really help.
This was it. I took the pencil, looked up the party the internet had told me to vote for, then looked up the first woman on the list, considering I try to be a feminist every now and then, and gave the circle in front of the name a nice red colour. I looked at my work for a couple seconds more, then took the ballot with me and walked over to the trashcan. Yes, that’s right you throw your vote in a container. Just like you throw out your moldy cheese after it has been in your fridge for three weeks. But okay, apparently that is the way we treat democracy here, cool. That was it! I did it. I voted. I did a thing as a responsible adult. What’s next? Drink cognac probably.