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Worth the Wait

Is early voter wait time the Miami parent's equivalent of walking barefoot through 10 feet of snow to get to school?

You voters today have it so easy. Back in my day ...

I definitely feel like I have bragging rights after waiting in line for three hours on a beautiful Saturday just so I could bubble in my vote for U.S. president and others on a unnecessarily long ballot in a tiny, cramped room at Miami City Hall.

I know I have nothing on other Miami residents who waited eight or nine hours or had the doors shut on them or cast their vote at 1 a.m.

Sunburned scalp aside, I actually made good use of my 180 minutes of extreme voting, as did a lot of the other folks I met in line.

I caught up on monitoring my kids' Instagram posts. I cleaned out three email in-boxes. I built my schedule for Miami Book Fair International. I checked the voting wait times at other locations on the Miami-Dade County website to see if any of them were moving quicker. They weren't.

A little girl in purple glasses standing with her mom in front of me used the time to crack her dad's password on the iPad they brought. "I can't believe I figured it out, I can't believe I figured it out," she yelled, jumping up and down.

The young man next to me studied from a textbook called "Genes."

A middle-aged woman a few feet ahead of me knit a colorful scarf that grew longer and longer.

Who knew my Miami brethren could be so resourceful?

A group of German tourists arrived on a bus and began taking photos of us.

After moving 200 meters in two hours, the battery on my iPhone died and I began talking to people around me. I was amazed to find everybody pleasant and polite. Nobody talked politics or mentioned their candidate of choice. It was as if we had reached a silent truce after months of nastiness on Facebook, radio and TV. Anybody willing to stand in line for that long to vote their conscience deserved our mutual respect.

People brought lawn chairs. Somebody began passing out free water. I expected someone to hand me concert tickets at the end.

During our civil exchanges, I learned that the man behind me had actually voted already, standing in line for three hours to cast his ballot at the Coral Gables Public Library on Friday. He came out on Saturday just to keep his girlfriend company while she waited to vote. "He's afraid I'll leave before voting if he doesn't hang out with me," she laughed.

Another man who said he was from Venezuela couldn't vote either, but he kept stopping by to deliver snacks and support to his American wife.

Every 20 minutes or so, a small group of voters would stride past us, wearing their "I Voted" stickers like Purple Hearts. "How long did you wait?" those of us still waiting in line would ask. As their responses grew longer and longer, we shook our heads and squared our shoulders, firmer in our resolve to stick it out.

Yeah, it was that important.

Regardless of the outcome, what a story to tell our kids and grandkids.