Sunday, April 14, 2013

Monday Nov 5 Last-minute campaigning in the rain

1. Primo and I spent three hours this afternoon dropping lit in the cold and the rain. We were in different neighborhoods, of course, in order to optimize coverage. As I trudged along on 14th Street, clutching my clipboard and my lit to my chest to keep it dry, head down to minimize the rain, an electric company truck pulled up next to me.

"Hey!" the guy yelled. "You know what you look like?"

I looked down at my long black raincoat, then up at my black hat.

"Death?" I suggested.

"No!" he laughed. "With that hat and that scarf" - I was wearing an orange scarf because orange is the new black - "you look like a Halloween witch! What are you doing out here in the rain?"

I explained that my husband was running for the state house and we were doing last-minute campaigning as I handed him a piece of campaign literature.

"Oh! I've heard of him!" he said. "I got something in the mail. Yeah, he's the guy I'm voting for. I always vote for Polka Dots."

"Good," I said. "I'm a Stripe myself, so we're a mixed marriage, but I think he'll do a good job for everyone."

He laughed again. "Mixed marriage?"

"Yeah," I replied. "I wish our lawmakers could get along better and work for the people they serve instead of the parties. My husband and I don't agree but we get along."

He nodded. "I hear ya. My ex and I can't stand each other, but we make an effort to get along for the sake of the kids. Damn. If we can do it, why can't they?"

We paused as we thought about our mutual disdain for dysfunctional, party-serving politicians who seem to have forgotten that they are there to serve the public and not themselves.

Then he said, "You better get moving. But your time wasn't wasted. I'll vote for him."

2. We got home to pick up more lit and more lists and to eat and discovered that the firefighter who had not done Primo's territory had left Primo's lit and signs at MaryJane's house. On her porch. At 7:00 in the morning. MaryJane got home at 4:00. It's been raining all day. All of Primo's stuff is wet. Not that we had more use for it, but honestly.

3. Steve's dad, Jim, sent Primo a text that he was doing doors for Primo on Walnut Ave and 3rd Street. "That's not my district!" Primo said in dismay. He tried to call Jim to find out what was going on but the phone was busy and the voicemail was full. He sent a frantic text and bit his nails.

Two minutes later, Jim texted back. He'd made a mistake on the address! Not to worry! All was cool!

4. Did I mention how much my joints ached this morning when I got up after four hours of walking on Sunday and four hours on Saturday? I took some of my OTC Spanish codeine, but I still ache. I have walked for six hours today and we're going out to do another hour as soon as we eat something. We had pancakes and sausage for breakfast and I have been eating Skittles by the handful today. If you walk for six hours in one day plus maybe another 90 minutes, you can eat Skittles. Although I should lay off because I am still nowhere close to fitting into the Thin Jeans, which, in a sustained state of optimism that history does not support, I have kept since I met Primo. I wore them the first few months we met, before we started spending a lot of time together and when I didn't have chips, frozen custard, and polenta cake in my house all the time.

Did I tell you that I can see Primo's ribs? The Campaign Diet works. But Primo didn't need to lose any weight.

5. Primo is on an emotional rollercoaster. He is disappointed in all the people who said they would help but then didn't. He is really down on the Polka Dots. He is convinced he is going to lose and is second-guessing himself, which I have never seen as a fruitful exercise. I.e., saying now that it was a bad idea to invest this much time and money in a race that was going to be completely uphill is not useful. Not at all. Primo likes to dwell on what should have been and what should be. I focus on the what is. We are different that way.

6. Some guy called him this morning to ask what party he was. Primo said he is running as a PD but is independent minded and wants to represent everyone in the district, not just the Polka Dots.

"Aren't you proud of what you are?" the caller demanded.

"Yes, of course," Primo said, "but my job would be to represent everyone and that's what I would do. I am married to a Stripe so I work across the aisle every day."

The guy hung up on him. "I think he had an agenda," I said.

Primo agreed.

7. We cancelled the phone bank for tonight. I had finally found three volunteers - it really has been gratifying how many people have been and are willing to help. We have met some super nice people in this process. (NOT the Polka Dot party, may I add.) But the more we thought about it and the more we talked to people, the more we realized how sick and darn tired everyone is of the political phone calls.

"I know the first piece of legislation you could propose," I said. "Make it so that politicians can't exempt themselves from the 'Do not call' lists."

I called the phone bank volunteers blesstheirhearts as I was trudging up the street to do my first batch of lit drop at 11:00 a.m. (I took the day off work to help with last-minute campaigning.) I was so impressed that we had as many people as we did to help with such a crummy, crummy job. If I live to be 100 - which is likely, given my genetics  - both my grandmothers lived to 97, despite very hard lives, I will never do another phone bank again. Calling strangers to ask them to vote for someone? No. Nononono.

So as I was walking up the street in the rain with my lit tucked into a big ziplock bag and my clipboard with the drop addresses clutched to my chest, I called the three volunteers and told them we were cancelling. Fortunately, none of them answered so I just got to leave a message. I was not in the mood to talk.

Then I called Primo and told him tearfully how proud I was that he had chosen to run. It's the first time in his life that he has really taken a chance on something and the first time he has done something hard. College was hard and he has a hard job - intellectually demanding and time consuming - but college and his job are well within his capabilities. All he has to do is work on it enough and he'll do fine. But he has never done anything like this. He was never on any sports teams as a kid. He has never really risked failure before. (I am not counting his first marriage.) I was proud of him.

8. We are both exhausted. But we still have 200 doors to do.

9. We went out after supper and dropped lit until 9:10. It was dark. It was cold. It was rainy.

It was not fun. Then, when I thought it was all over, Primo wanted to check his yard signs. We drove around so he could make sure they were properly placed and visible from the road. He got one new sign on a very busy street. Ever the engineer, he placed two signs in the yard, angled so they could be seen by drivers from both directions.

"That lady is getting divorced," he said. "She lost her job as a nurse and hasn't been able to find another one."

"Wait," I said. "There is a nurse shortage. I have a hard time believing that she can't get another job."

He conceded that maybe she was not an RN.

"Anyhow," he said, "and now her husband is divorcing her because he says she's lazy."

I raised my eyebrows. "Do you think there might be more to this story?"

He laughed. "Probably."

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure he's proud of you for sticking with him through this and for all your help and sacrifices.If he loses and runs again at least you will have learned from the first campaign.