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Making a List, Checking It Twice

By Robin Cohen

Long lines on September 18, the first day of early voting, at Fairfax County, Va. Government Center
Long lines on September 18, the first day of early voting, at Fairfax County, Va. Government Center

When I saw the lines at my local place on the national news, I panicked. An hours long wait at the Fairfax Government Center, the news reported. That left the option of mail-in or drop-off voting, neither of which made me feel 100% comfortable.

Not taking any chances on this election, I carved out a full day to vote. When I arrived at the Government Center on October 8, the line stretched out to the end of the large parking lot. Ugh! There were no sample paper ballots due to COVID-19. Instead, we were advised to take a picture of a billboard sample ballot with our phones. Lots of volunteer guided us while we were in line, enforcing social distancing and masks, giving us time estimates and offering us free bottled water. All that was missing was Mickey Mouse and the jingle of “It’s a Small World.”

As luck would have it, my wait was a little over an hour. One of the volunteers said it was the shortest wait since the poll opened a few weeks ago. I voted, feeling like a great weight was lifted, and pranced out of the building giddy with civic pride. Check! Done with time to spare. Oh my gosh, I can sneak in a grocery run. Off to Wegmans. When I arrived at Wegmans, I saw a sign that said, “Get Your Flu Shot Here.” I seized the opportunity and offered up my right arm (I’m left-handed). This was an unexpected “should” taken off my long list. Check! More prancing.

Fingers crossed and prayers answered that both my vote and flu shot yield the desired results!


Robin Cohen has been married to Insider Neil Cohen for 42 years, with two grown sons, Daniel and Steven. Robin and her husband live in Herndon, Virginia where she works as a clinical social worker specializing in couples’ therapy. She has been selected twice by the Washingtonian Magazine as “Top Couples Therapist.” Cohen was a former adjunct faculty at Virginia Tech’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program where she worked as a clinical supervisor and was part of two research teams. Her favorite quote comes from the British psychiatrist, John Bowlby. “All behavior makes sense given its context.” When not working, Robin enjoys playing the piano, reading, traveling and ballroom dancing with Neil.



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