ICP #111 | On citizenship imagined

It’s that time again. There’s an election happening and I have to pretend to understand things.

It’s a state election, which makes even less sense to me than national. The polling stations are churches and schools and most have a sausage sizzle outside. Which is good because voting can take hours. The system is complex and voting is compulsory so there are queues. But democracy sausage awaits you.

Of course, I can’t vote. I’m not a citizen. 

I’m eligible to apply now, actually. But privilege breeds laziness, and somehow I haven’t got round to it.

I saw a quote on instagram: Remember when you wanted everything you currently have? And another – something about walking through doors you once prayed would open. And I realise I’ve breezed through a few of those doors this year, without paying much attention. 

Because no one’s really pointing those doors out to you. The doors of success appear in stages. Tentative and uncertain, more of a maybe or a probably than a resounding yes. The golden ticket you’d hoped for is actually an email, sent late on a Thursday, with typos and a missing attachment.

Of course you’ll take it. God. You’ll take anything. But popping the champagne feels pre-emptive. Something could always go wrong.

I read this week that it is our ability to contemplate the future that defines our species. We take the accumulative knowledge of our past and present and imaginatively project it onto the doors ahead of us.

My projection is standing in a voting booth. 

She is a citizen. She is educated on the policies of the candidates and she understands how to exercise her rights. She isn’t exhausted or hungover. She’s wearing clean clothes and her hair looks good. She skips the democracy sausage because she’s vegan now, but she chucks a few dollars in the bucket anyway.

She’s meeting a friend. She’s riding a bike. She’s holding balloons. Flowers. A puppy. She’s laughing.



A version of this post was sent by email on the 25th November 2018 as part of Internet Care Package – a weekly memoir project in the form of a newsletter. It also includes links to the best things I’ve found on the internet each week and occasional updates on my theatremaking. This blog is a select archive of those emails. Subscribe to get them right in your inbox.

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