Monday, June 14, 2004

Bear in Tennis Shoes

We had a lovely weekend. I finally put my feet in front of my mouth and did some canvassing for MoveOn on Saturday. I've never done anything like that before. For an introvert such as myself it was more than a little scary. Which was one reason I did it. Gotta face those fears & all...

There was one annoying young guy on the orientation team who reminded me, in a nutshell of everything I hated about summer camp (wherein lie the root of my irrational disdain for being any kind of a 'joiner', I swear). The sickeningly sweet & insincere attempts to build "excitement" by the fresh faced counselors in neon T-shirts; ridiculous role playing skits and lack of chairs in the meeting hall all took me back to my days at Silver Creek Falls where I had no friends and they made me sit around the campfire right next to an anthill and sing stupid songs.

But aside from that, it wasn't as annoying as I'd thought it might be. The canvassing was actually run by the League of Conservation Voters. MoveOn just provided more feet to pound the pavement. We were deployed to key swing precincts that have gone either way in the past to a) identify how voters in those precincts are leaning right now; b) find out what their top 2 issues are; and c) recruit more volunteers for Kerry. Then in the coming months, they'll go back and target undecided voters in these precincts with more direct mailings, phone calls and personal visits.

My 'buddy' was a 50+ yr old housewife from one of the more upscale bedroom communities. The last time she'd ever done anything like this was 25 some years ago in Texas when she'd manned the phone banks for Bush Sr. in his campaign against Reagan. "I was so uninformed back then...." she said. But like so many of the other regular folks I met that day (on both sides of the doorbell); she was just so pissed that she had to do something. I got 3 potential volunteers signed up and made good inroads on a couple of undecideds, I think.

By the end of the day my feet were killing me and I had mild sunstroke, I think but it was worth it. I was so wiped at the end I just dropped off my teammates and results at the meeting hall and didn't stick around for the chorus of "Cumbaya" (or whatever the post-event wrap up entailed). One thing I learned, though. There's a definite correlation between level of political enthusiasm and comfort of toes. As the latter declined throughout the day I saw a definite drop in the former. Next time around I think I might be much more effective on the phones.

But if I do agree to hit the pavement again I'll be taking my cue from that old bear in the campfire singalong who wore tennis shoes. Smart bear.

Sunday we let Grumblema take us to Chinese food for lunch. She could just fit us in before the big NBA game. We took her a jar of the yummy cherry jam Curt made while I was out agitating. If she keeps up with her "go-go-joy-joy" pill regimen (as she calls her Zoloft) we might have to come up with a new nickname for her. It is amazing what a difference it's made. The negativity factor drops by about 70%.

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