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Seeing. Jose Saramago. Click here if your download doesn"t start automatically Seeing by Jose Saramago Free PDF d0wnl0ad, audio books, books to read. The Library of Congress has cataloged the print edition as follows: Saramago, José. [Ensaio sobre a lucidez. English]. Seeing/José Saramago; translated from. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. In Nobel Prize–winner Saramogo's best known Seeing - Kindle edition by José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa.
What the clerks and party representatives said, aside from the representative of the p. Explore now. Only the clerk who had gone over to the door earlier on seemed pleased with himself, his face bore the complacent expression of one who has reason to be proud of his own merits, which, translated into words, came down to this, No one answered at my house, which can only mean that they're on their way here now. But are the authorities acting too precipitously? The solemn moment had arrived when the presiding officer uncovers and displays the ballot box to the voters so that they can certify that it is empty, and tomorrow, if necessary, bear witness to the fact that no criminal act has introduced into it, at dead of night, the false votes that would corrupt the free and sovereign political will of the people, and so that there would be no electoral shenanigans, as they're so picturesquely known, and which, let us not forget, can be committed before, during or after the act, depending on the efficiency of the perpetrators and their accomplices and the opportunities available to them. Jose Saramago.
After the various materials have been inspected, the law of this country states that the presiding officer should immediately cast his vote, as should the poll clerks, the party representatives and their respective deputies, as long, of course, as they are registered at that particular polling station, as was the case here.
Even by stretching things out, four minutes was more than enough time for the ballot box to receive its first eleven votes.
And then, there was nothing else for it, the waiting began. Barely half an hour had passed when the presiding officer, who was getting anxious, suggested that one of the poll clerks should go and see if anyone was coming, voters might have turned up to find the door blown shut by the wind and gone off in a huff, grumbling that the government might at least have had the decency to inform people that the elections had been postponed, that, after all, was what the radio and television were for, to broadcast such information.
The secretary said, But everyone knows that when a door blows shut it makes the devil of a noise, and we haven't heard a thing in here. The poll clerk hesitated, will I, won't I, but the presiding officer insisted.
Go on, please, and be careful, don't get wet. The door was open, the wedge securely in place. The clerk stuck his head out, a moment was all it took to glance from one side to the other and then draw back, dripping, as if he had put his head under a shower.
He wanted to proceed like a good poll clerk, to please the presiding officer, and, since it was the first time he had been called upon to perform this function, he also wanted to be appreciated for the speed and efficiency with which he had carried out his duties, who knows, with time and experience, he might one day be the person presiding over a polling station, higher flights of ambition than this have traversed the sky of providence and no one has so much as batted an eye.
When he went back into the room, the presiding officer, half-rueful, half-amused, exclaimed, There was no need to get yourself soaked, man, Oh, it doesn't matter, sir, said the clerk, drying his cheek on the sleeve of his jacket, Did you spot anyone, As far as I could see, no one, it's like a desert of water out there.
The presiding officer got up, took a few uncertain steps around the table, went into the voting chamber, looked inside and came back.
The representative of the p. This time the representative of the p. The secretary, on whom all eyes were expectantly turned, opted for a practical suggestion, You know, it might not be a bad idea to phone the ministry and ask how the elections are going elsewhere in the city and in the rest of the country too, that way we would find out if this civic power cut was a general thing or if we're the only ones whom the voters have declined to illumine with their votes.
The secretary shrugged and asked, Shall I make a note of the representative of the p. There was a telephone on another table and he walked over to it, carrying the instruction leaflet he had been given days before and on which were printed, amongst other useful things, the telephone numbers of the ministry of the interior. The call was a brief one, It's the presiding officer of polling station number fourteen here, I'm very worried, there's something distinctly odd going on, so far, not a single voter has turned up to vote, we've been open for more than an hour, and not a soul, yes, sir, I know there's no way of stopping the storm, yes, sir, I know, rain, wind, floods, yes, sir, we'll be patient, we'll stick to our guns, after all, that's why we're here.
From that point on the presiding officer contributed nothing to the dialogue apart from a few affirmative nods of the head, the occasional muted interjection and three or four phrases which he began but did not finish. When he replaced the receiver, he looked over at his colleagues, but without, in fact, seeing them, it was as if he had before him a landscape composed entirely of empty voting chambers, immaculate electoral rolls, with presiding officers and secretaries waiting, party representatives exchanging distrustful glances as they tried to work out who might gain and who might lose from this situation, and, in the distance, the occasional rain-soaked poll-clerk returning from the door to announce that no one was coming.
What did the people at the ministry say, asked the representative of the p. There was a silence. Then the secretary put his hand into one of his jacket pockets, produced a mobile phone and keyed in a number. While he was waiting for someone to answer, he said, It's a bit like the mountain and Mahomet, since we can't ask the voters, whom we don't know, why they haven't come in to vote, let's ask our own families, whom we do know, hi, it's me, yes, how come you're still there, why haven't you been to vote, I know it's raining, my trouser legs are still sopping wet, oh, right, sorry, I forgot you'd told me you'd be over after lunch, sure, I only phoned because things are a bit awkward here, oh, you've no idea, if I told you that not a single voter has yet come in to vote, you probably wouldn't believe me, right, fine, I'll see you later then, take care.
He turned off the phone and remarked ironically, Well, at least one vote is guaranteed, my wife will be coming this afternoon. The presiding officer and the clerks looked at each other, they were obviously supposed to follow the secretary's example, but not one of them wanted to be the first to do so, that would be tantamount to admitting that when it came to quick thinking and self-confidence the secretary won hands down.
It did not take long for the clerk who had gone over to the door to see if it was raining to conclude that he would have to eat a lot of bread and salt before he could compete with the secretary we have here, capable of casually pulling a vote out of a mobile phone like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Seeing that the presiding officer, in one corner, was now calling home on his mobile, and that the others, using their own phones, were discreetly, in whispers, doing likewise, this same clerk privately applauded the honesty of his colleagues who, by not using the phone provided in principle for official use only, were nobly saving the state money.
The only person who, for lack of a mobile phone, had to resign himself to waiting for news from the others was the representative of the p. The conversations gradually came to an end, one after the other, the longest being that of the presiding officer, who appears to be demanding that the person he is talking to come immediately to the polling station, we'll see if he has any luck with that, but the fact is he's the one who should have spoken first, but, then, if the secretary decided to get in ahead of him, too bad, he is, as we've already seen, a bit of a smart aleck, if he had as much respect for hierarchy as we do, he would have merely suggested the idea to his superior.
The presiding officer let out the sigh that had long been trapped within his breast, put the phone away in his pocket and asked, So, what did you find out. The question, as well as being superfluous, was, how can we put it, just the teensiest bit dishonest, firstly, because, when it comes down to it, everyone would have found out something, however irrelevant, secondly, because it was obvious that the person asking the question was taking advantage of the authority inherent in his position to shirk his duty, since it was up to him, in voice and person, to initiate any exchange of information.
If we bear in mind the sigh he uttered and the rather querulous tone we thought we detected at one point in the phone conversation, it would be logical to suppose that the dialogue, presumably with a member of his family, had not proved to be as placid and instructive as his perfectly justifiable interest as a citizen and as a presiding officer deserved, and that he does not feel sufficiently calm to launch into some hastily concocted extemporaneous comment, and is now sidestepping the difficulty by inviting his subordinates to have their say first, which, as we also know, is another, more modern way of being the boss.
What the clerks and party representatives said, aside from the representative of the p. Only the clerk who had gone over to the door earlier on seemed pleased with himself, his face bore the complacent expression of one who has reason to be proud of his own merits, which, translated into words, came down to this, No one answered at my house, which can only mean that they're on their way here now.
The presiding officer resumed his seat and the waiting began again. Nearly an hour later, the first voter arrived.
Contrary to the general expectation, and much to the dismay of the clerk who had gone over to the door earlier on, it was a stranger. He left his dripping umbrella at the entrance to the room and, still wearing his plastic cape glistening with water and his plastic boots, went over to the table.
The presiding officer looked up at him with a smile on his lips, for this voter, a man of advanced years, but still robust, signaled a return to normality, to the usual line of dutiful citizens moving slowly and patiently along, conscious, as the representative of the p.
The man handed his identity card and voter's card to the presiding officer, the latter then announced in a sonorous, almost joyful voice the number on the card and its owner's name, the clerks in charge of the electoral roll leafed through it and, when they found both name and number, repeated them out loud and drew a straight line against the entry to indicate that the man had voted, then, the man, still dripping, went into a voting booth clutching his ballot paper, returned shortly afterward with the piece of paper folded into four, handed it to the presiding officer, who slipped it solemnly into the ballot box, retrieved his documents and left, taking his umbrella with him.
The second voter took another ten minutes to appear, but from then on, albeit unenthusiastically, one by one, like autumn leaves slowly detaching themselves from the boughs of a tree, the ballot papers dropped into the ballot box. However long the presiding officer and his colleagues took to scrutinize documents, a queue never formed, there were, at most, at any one time, three or four people waiting, and three or four people, try as they might, can never make a queue worthy of the name.
I was quite right, commented the representative of the p. Resolutely, the man to whom we have been referring as the clerk who had gone over to the door earlier on got up and said to the presiding officer, With your permission, sir, since there are no voters here at present, I'll just pop out and see what the weather's doing. It took only an instant, he was there and back in a twinkling, this time with a smile on his face and bearing good news, It's raining much less now, hardly at all really, and the clouds are beginning to break up too.
The poll clerks and the party representatives very nearly embraced, but their happiness was not long-lived. The monotonous drip-drip of voters did not change, one came, then another, the wife, mother and aunt of the officer who had gone over to the door came, the elder brother of the representative of the p.
The journalist left feeling contented, it was a nice turn of phrase, he could even use it as a subtitle to his article. And because the time had come to satisfy their stomachs, the electoral officers and the party representatives organized themselves so that, with one eye on the electoral roll and the other on their sandwiches, they could take turns to eat right there.
It had stopped raining, but nothing seemed to indicate that the civic hopes of the presiding officer would be satisfactorily fulfilled by a ballot box in which, so far, the votes barely covered the bottom. All those present were thinking the same thing, the election so far had been a terrible political failure. Time was passing. The clock on the tower had struck half past three when the secretary's wife came in to vote. Husband and wife exchanged discreet smiles, but there was also just a hint of an indefinable complicity, which provoked in the presiding officer an uncomfortable inner spasm, perhaps the pain of envy, knowing that he would never exchange such a smile with anyone.
It was still hurting him in some fold of his flesh when, thirty minutes later, he glanced at the clock and wondered to himself if his wife had, in the end, gone to the cinema.
She'll turn up, if she ever does, at the last possible moment, he thought. The ways of warding off fate are many and almost all are useless, and this one, forcing oneself to think the worst in the hope that the best will happen, is one of the most commonplace, and might even be worthy of further consideration, although not in this case, because we have it from an unimpeachable source that the presiding officer's wife really has gone to the cinema and, at least up until now, is still undecided as to whether to cast her vote or not.
Fortunately, the oft-invoked need for balance which has kept the universe on track and the planets on course means that whenever something is taken from one side, it is replaced by something else on the other, something that more or less corresponds, something of the same quality and, if possible, the same proportions, so that there are not too many complaints about unfair treatment.
How else can one explain why it was that, at four o'clock in the afternoon, an hour which is neither late nor early, neither fish nor fowl, those voters who had, until then, remained in the quiet of their homes, apparently blithely ignoring the election altogether, started to come out onto the streets, most of them under their own steam, but others thanks only to the worthy assistance of firemen and volunteers because the places where they lived were still flooded and impassable, and all of them, absolutely all of them, the healthy and the infirm, the former on foot, the latter in wheelchairs, on stretchers, in ambulances, headed straight for their respective polling stations like rivers which know no other course than that which flows to the sea.
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Seeing is an ironic. Blindness by Jose Saramago.. Seeing is Blindness: Jose Saramago - Bookfox Seeing is Blindness: Jose Saramago. Book Reviews 1 Comment.. Saramago tries too hard to make you get his point,.