"There's a Mothers Day pancake breakfast at the community center on Sunday," he said. "PW wants me to go and collect signatures."
I felt sick to me stomach. "Do I have to go?"
"It's the kind of thing where it would look bad if you didn't," he admitted.
"I can't think of anything I want to do less than go to a pancake breakfast on Mothers Day and ask people to take political action," I said. "Don't you think people are sick of politics by now? And don't you think that asking for signatures for your petition at an event like this is kind of tacky?"
"I think I need to do this," he said. "And I need you to go with me."
Sunday morning, I got up. Ate because I was starving. Felt sick to my stomach because we were going to campaign at a non-political, strictly social event.
Primo showered and shaved. He asked me to iron his shirt. Which I didn't want to do because I hate ironing. "Just wear a different shirt," I suggested. He didn't like that idea.
"It's my birthday," he reminded me. (Which it was.) "Won't you please iron this shirt for me? I really like it."
"Fine!" I huffed. I ironed his stupid shirt and of course it got wrinkled again as soon as he put it on.
I showered. Got dressed. Slowly. I was dreading this.
We drove to the community center. Walked in. It was crowded. Hundreds of people eating pancakes. Primo bought our tickets. Six dollars each. We went to the food line. "I'm not hungry," I told him.
"Then why are we here?" he asked. "I thought you wanted to eat!"
"We're here because you want to campaign! I didn't want to come!"
"Why did you let me buy you a ticket if you weren't going to eat?"
"How do you not buy a ticket for a fundraiser when you're there to campaign? I'm not hungry. I feel sick to my stomach. How are you going to do this?" I gestured to the room.
"I don't know," he admitted. "I've never done this before, either."
He got his pancakes. "Do you want to sit here?" he asked.
"I don't know. I don't care."
"Why are you acting so weird? You're all cranky!"
"Because I don't want to do this!"
"But I'm not campaigning right now. I didn't even ask you to carry a clipboard and get signatures. Why is this so awful for you?"
"Because I feel like we're intruding. I'm not a mother and this is a stupid Mothers Day thing. I hate Mothers Day to begin with, so why am I helping celebrate it?"
He sighed. "It's my birthday and you're being cranky. Let's just sit."
"Fine," I huffed again. I sat down and crossed my arms. I looked around again. "I really don't know how you're supposed to do this."
He shook his head. "I don't either. But I'm not approaching anyone right now, so why not just relax?"
He had a point. He ate his pancakes. "Are you going to give your ticket away?" he asked.
"No way. I guess I might as well get something to eat. But only because I don't want six dollars to go to waste."
We finished eating. Even though he'd had a ten-minute head start, we finished at the same time because he's the slowest eater in the world.
"Now what?" I asked.
"I don't know," he answered.
I looked around. The breakfast was being run by the local police department. Two cops were manning the coffee stand. "There's nobody getting coffee," I said. "Go talk to those cops."
He looked. "I don't know. They look busy."
"They're not busy!" I exclaimed. "Look! There's nobody there!"
We stood and I pulled his arm. "As long as we're here - and as long as we've already paid, you might as well do what needs to be done."
He resisted. "I don't know what to say."
I sighed. "Good grief. You're the one who wanted to come here! We are not letting this all be for nothing."
I pulled harder. "All right, all right!" he said. "Stop pulling. It looks bad."
"Then come on!" I urged.
We walked to the coffee stand. Primo stood silent for a minute. I looked at the one cop and said, "This is my husband. He's running for the state house."
Primo extended his hand. "Hi, I'm Primo." He launched into his speech. The cop didn't bite. He wasn't mean or rude.
I identified three more policemen. "Let's go talk to them," I said. I did it again: "This is my husband, Primo. He's running for the state house in November. He's an engineer, so we've never done this before. We're not quite sure how to go about it."
A woman waved at me. "Gold Digger!" she called.
We walked up to her table. It was Deb, the woman who owns the consignment shop where I take a lot of my clothes. "What are you doing here?" she asked.
"Remember how I told you my husband was running for the state house?" I asked. "We're here campaigning."
"But you're in a mixed marriage!" she said.
I rolled my eyes. "I know," I said. "I'm going to get a book out of this."
She laughed. "This is what love looks like," she said to the man standing next to her.
She and I agreed that neither party represented us. "I am the party of me," I said.
Primo asked if she would sign his nominating petition. "Just to get me on the ballot," he assured her. "You don't have to promise to vote for me."
"Sure!" she said.
We approached a few more of the people working at the event. Most of them signed the petition. The few who didn't were very polite about it. Nobody was mean or rude to us. It wasn't so bad.