Sep 23, 2008

The World Is My Canvass

The Obama campaign HQ here in C'ville is located in the remains of a department store on the Downtown Mall, now barely furnished with card tables and folding chairs. There is not air conditioning to speak of, but it seemed like I was the only one who noticed. Two or three dogs were lounging about the place, completely at home in the hustle and bustle of thirty-odd volunteers trying to change the world. I noticed the abundance of female workers and wondered what that says about the power of charisma in American politics. I'm not what you'd call a Barak Obama supporter ... I'm more of the Any Dem Will Do school of thought. I dared not mention this to those bright-eyed women, with their "Obama Mama" t-shirts and their special language of Barak-isms. But I envy their conviction.

When I gave my address to the woman training me, she looked thrilled. No one else wanted to canvass my neighborhood because, in the sense that there is a remote-controlled structure that lowers across one entrance into the complex, we are technically a gated community. The packet of addresses I was given has this helpful handwritten note: "You're not supposed to be there, but stay until you're asked to leave." I imagined trying to explain to an irate home owner's association that yes, I live here and no, I'm not just a tenant and please, don't hurt me.

My neighbors turned out to be pretty nice overall. Some take one look at my Obama/Biden button and turned me away immediately. Several twenty-somethings came to the door in their pyjamas at 5:30pm - it's gratifying to know I'm not the only person who changes as soon as she gets home. I had a nice conversation with a very cute law student, who broke my heart a little by informing me that he is a "lifelong Republican." The Best Canvassing Moment, however, goes to a woman in one of the basement apartments on my street...

Me: *ringing doorbell*
Boy: *opens door* AUGH!
Mother: AUGH!
Me: AUGH! Wait, why are we screaming?
Mother: Well, my daughter saw a snake earlier!
Me: And you thought it came back? And rang the bell?

Unfortunately, Obama HQ forgot to give me brochures to leave behind when no one was home. I suppose I'll have to go and do those houses again...? Honestly, I would have benefited from a little more structure in this whole process. Still, I had fun. For anyone considering canvassing, I say do it.


Liz said...

hahaha... i too change into jammies as soon as i get home from work.

the snake story! oh man. if snakes get the ability to ring doorbells, i am going to hide forever. especially since my doorbell is about 4 feet up. cringe!

i've thought about canvassing, but i hate talking to strangers unless i'm drunk, and i doubt obama would want me representing him in that state. thank god blacksburg is already one of the few oases of obama-backers in this part of virginia.

Monkey Sri said...

Au contraire, mon frere - you always seem perfectly lucid to me! Or maybe, because we drink together, I'm too far gone to notice. Food for thought.