Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=179327
Story Retrieval Date: 6/20/2013 4:30:24 AM CST
Liz M. Kobak/MEDILL
For some, Election Day was Tuesday. For many others -- many, many others -- it was just Tuesday.
It was a day, no less, no more. The election? No big deal.
Just an ordinary day at work
It’s a workday like any other for Chicago native Marilyn Perez, a teller at the Dearborn Street Bank of America, west of the CTA red line’s Chicago and State stop.
Although the 25-year-old had looked forward to voting close to home at the Portage-Cragin Library, she said her work schedule on Election Day did not allow her to do so.
“I think that the polls should be open later because I, for example, don’t get out of work until 6:15,” Perez said. “It takes me over an hour to get home.”
Since voting was not in the cards for her, Perez said she would share the identity of her favorite mayoral candidate.
“I would vote for del Valle,” Perez said. “In the Red Eye one time they had all four candidates’ views and I liked what he was about more than anyone else,” especially about parking.
Ask Perez about parking rates and you get a terse “ridiculously high.”
“You can’t park anywhere without having to pay for it,” Perez said. “Even here, it’s $6 for two hours.”
Although Perez knew that del Valle’s chances of winning were close to none -- he ended up with 9 percent of the vote -- she was upset that she was unable to exercise her right to vote.
Tony Mills, manager of the “Sweet Miss Giving’s” food truck, said he strategically parked on the corner of St. Clair and Huron, near the heart of Northwestern University’s downtown Chicago campus. He knew he would get good business, even on a bitterly cold, windy Election Day like Tuesday.
“[When people] come out for lunch or their break, they see a cupcake truck and they lose their minds,” Mills said.
He said he had avoided parking near voting polls, as he could not handle the intense crowds. As it turned out, the crowds this Tuesday weren’t very intense, with turnout little more than 40 percent.
But that did not stop Mills from rewarding customers who voted.
He honored voters with a $1 discount off their chocolate, red velvet and carrot cake cupcakes and sticker that said, “I voted for Sweet Miss Giving’s Best Dessert Truck.”
Because there was no bakery across the street from St. Clair and Huron, Mills parked his food truck at the corner. And by selling them there, Mills said he found a fiscal, emotional and territorial balance.
“People seem pretty relaxed,” Mills said about the people out and about Tuesday.
Let's go shopping
Rather than purchasing cupcakes and goodies from Mills’ truck or Forty Carrots on Bloomingdale’s top floor, a few Chicagoans with different voting agendas resorted to retail therapy.
As he left Bloomingdale’s men’s department, one man who carried a Coach shopping bag, said he could not feel the difference between Election Day and another day.
“I’m running errands, doing that type of thing,” said pharmacist Darnell Todd, 42, who smiled while reflecting on his early voting and day off from work. “I’m chilling.”
Since moving to Chicago in 1995, Susan Hanes has appreciated the 900 North Michigan building’s high ceilings and open, atmospheric feel.
“It’s a place to get a cup of coffee and hang out anonymously,” Hanes said about the many chairs dispersed throughout the ground floor, hidden behind bases of escalators.
Pleasure should not be sacrificed for the sake of Election Day, Hanes said, under one condition.
“Just as long as you vote,” she said. “Other than that, it doesn’t matter what else you’re doing.”
Hanes planned to vote after work.
As for Todd, given that he had already done that, he continued to run errands throughout the day.
"You know what? It’s pretty much like a regular day to me; nothing special,” Todd said.
Before the election results were announced, Todd said, he would make sure to catch his favorite TV show, “The Good Wife.”
A stone’s throw away from the Bloomingdale’s, 80-year-old Nancy Connery was shopping in J.Crew to be proactive about something other than voting.
“I’m shopping for summer clothes,” Connery said. “I’m looking forward to summer.”
After having just left the doctor’s office, Connery said the bright colors and soft fabrics that filled the shelves of J.Crew were uplifting. As she picked through one rack of button-down linen shirts, she said with confidence who she would vote for, and it was not any of the listed candidates.
“I plan on writing my own name on the ballot,” Connery said. “I don’t like Rahm and I don’t like Carol and I don’t like Chico, so I’m writing my own name.”
After paying for her J.Crew summer shirts on a cold winter’s afternoon, Connery planned to cast her ballot at the polling place in her home building’s lobby.
After work, in the gym and grocery store
Minutes before Gery Chico conceded, Rahm Emanuel officially became Chicago’s elected mayor, and a run-off was avoided, Yara Mekawi was working out on the River East Club’s cardio machines. She was not planning to follow the final election results.
“I really feel like there is no point,” said the 21-year-old Egypt native, who immigrated to the United States before attending the University of Illinois at Chicago. “I know that [Emanuel’s] going to win.”
By 9 p.m., Emanuel was moments away from speaking as mayor-elect and some Chicagoans prepared to watch his speech live at the Near West Side Plumbers Union Hall and on countless television sets throughout the city.
Antonio Munoz, 26, a grocer at Treasure Island, was still working.
Before work he had helped his mother vote but he himself did not rock the vote.
“I am not yet a registered voter,” said Munoz, who has lived in Pilsen his whole life. “People keep telling me to do it, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
But regardless of what they were doing Election Day and night and where they were doing it, these Chicagoans said it was not different from tomorrow, the next day and the next.
“Today’s like any other day,” Todd said.