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The Age of Agita | Lisa Scottoline

My agita just turned into jet fuel. I want to vote harder than ever. As soon as I can. And absolutely effectively.

We’re living in the Age of Agita.

In case you don’t know the term, agita is aggravation of a uniquely Italian sort.

I’m not sure if the word comes from the verb agitare, which means to shake or upset, or acido, its word for acid, which gets corrupted in pronunciation.

The etymology doesn’t matter.

You get the idea.

You know it in your gut.

Every day in the news, there’s something that gives you agita, no matter your politics.

The only thing that Republicans and Democrats have in common is stomach acid.

Now it’s time to vote.

Grab the Tums.

I have agita about voting.

But not for the reasons you might think.

I know who I’m voting for.

I just don’t know how I’m voting.

Because voting has become agita.

In fact, voting comes with instructions now.

Unfortunately, I usually skip instructions.

I think I can figure things out.

My motto is, jump in and see if I can swim.

By the way, I can’t swim.

To return to point, you might wonder how not reading the instructions works for me.

With the big things, surprisingly well.

Life doesn’t come with instructions.

You just have to live.

And luckily, a lot of major things in life are reversible. You can even get divorced twice if you want to.

But not reading the instructions doesn’t work on the little things. For example, I built a bulletin board that slopes because I didn’t read the instructions about the screws. And I built a rolling book cart that won’t stop rolling because I put the brakes in upside down.

And anything from IKEA I-KILLS me.

Because of the pandemic, I applied for mail-in voting for the first time. I voted by mail in the primary and thought I did it right, but I never tracked it online. When I applied to mail-in vote for the presidential election, I was declined as a duplicate.


I didn’t want to go to voter jail, so I called the county elections office and they explained that evidently the first time I had applied, it was good forever.


The presidential election is major agita, especially for those of us in Pennsylvania, because we live in a swing state.

Swinging sounds fun.

But it isn’t.

The first hints of the agita to come were the pundits tweeting, ATTENTION PENNSYLVANIA VOTERS! And articles with headlines like “Pennsylvania Risks Becoming Center of Election Chaos.”

The problem is our mail-in ballot seems unnecessarily complicated.

As in, it has an extra envelope called the “secrecy envelope.”

Decoder ring not included.

And if you send your ballot in without the extra envelope, it will be rejected as “naked.”

That, I almost get.

I’d reject me naked, too.

I don’t know if the purpose of the two envelopes is to protect our privacy or promote our confusion. But after the recent sabotage of the post office and the bogus lawsuits against the drop boxes, I have a good guess.

And I get the message.

Somebody doesn’t want us voting.

Good luck, buckaroo.

You know what they didn’t count on?

They pissed me off.

You wouldn’t like me pissed off.

The Hulk has nothing on a middle-aged woman.

My agita just turned into jet fuel.

I want to vote harder than ever.

As soon as I can.

And absolutely effectively.

I hate to read instructions, but now I’m memorizing them.

I didn’t track my mail-in vote in the primary, but I sure as shootin' will now.

I will not allow my vote to go uncounted.

I have lots of good reasons to vote, but now, one of them is spite.

What’s my plan to vote?

I got an email notice that my mail-in ballot will be here any day now. When it arrives, I’ll follow these steps, which I got from voter services:

Fill out your ballot.

Put it in the secrecy envelope and seal it.

Put it in the outer envelope and sign it on the back.

Mail it back ASAP.

That is the end of the official instructions.

Also: Pray.

I’m betting that mail-in voting is safe, but at the last minute, I might change my mind and take my ballot to the drop box.

And stand guard until it’s collected.

I might even take my ballot to the county election office and vote, risking COVID.

Bottom line, I would walk on broken glass.


Look for Lisa’s first historical novel, “Eternal," coming on March 23, 2021. Also look for Francesca’s debut novel, “Ghosts of Harvard," on sale now.