Sometimes it’s a single issue, or at least, that’s what she tells herself. More often than not it’s a gradual build-up of disappointment and tiredness that triggers it. She decides not to go to the next cumann meeting, and stays in and gets a pizza and watches Midsomer Murders instead. And guess what: She doesn’t miss the cumann meeting. She doesn’t go to the next one either, or the one after. When she gets a phonecall to help with a leaflet drop she’s busy.
Then she stops zooming in on headlines with the party’s name in it. Soon it happens: An opinion poll comes out, and she doesn’t care how the party is doing. She surprises even herself with her lack of interest.
Sitting out the election feels weird, as she’ll have received phone calls from party officers who have finally noticed that she’s not turning up, and she’ll feel embarrassed, and will almost promise to turn up at the next meeting, but resists, and says “she’ll see what she can do”. They both know that means she’s gone. The party official will wonder why the sane people always leave whilst the mouth-breathers and the one-issue obsessives “how will the banking crisis affect the ramps on the bottom of Lea Road, which is a major issue in the area?” never do.
She misses the energy of the election, but not hugely, seeing it for the first time the way non-political people see it, as important, but not the most important thing in her life. On the door, she is polite to the canvassers, having been that soldier, and resists the urge to demonstrate that she actually knows more about their policies than they do.
She still watches the election count all day on the telly, and enjoys it, but other things fill her life. Family, work, and whilst she still maintains an interest in politics it tends to be at a higher level, with more interest in other countries or history. She finds herself shutting out day-to-day politics, developing an interest in running or cycling or painting or learning the piano. And here’s the scary thing: She doesn’t regret her time spent in politics, because she met some great people. But as she finishes her first painting, or finishes her first novel, or passes her first piano exam, she can’t help thinking that she could’ve put her time to much more rewarding use.