Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wednesday Oct 24 The doorbell keeps ringing and I don't know how to answer questions

The phone bank is tomorrow night. I have found volunteers to work. Two are people Primo has recruited, one is our friend Christina, aka The Nighttime Wife, and four are my recruits: my book club friend, two neighbors, and a woman Primo and I met doing doors.

I emailed them on Monday. Called them all today to remind them. This is a case for redundant systems. It's too late when nobody shows up to call and email reminders. You need to overprepare because you never know what's going to happen.

I was preparing snacks for the volunteers. I was baking our friend Julie's great polenta cake, which has cornmeal and almond paste. It's not too sweet, it's super moist, and it has a very nice, interesting combination of flavors. Who thinks of putting cornmeal and almonds together? Not me.

So I had come home from work, changed into my PJs, which consist of red and white-striped jersey elastic-waist jersey pants that I got at the Lands End outlet and Primo's long-sleeved, yellow beer-bike t-shirt from college. I put my pink John Deere sweatshirt on over that, pulled on the fluffy socks, and stepped into my orange topsiders. Then I got baking.

In the middle of separating the eggs, the doorbell rang.

I answered, even though I am not usually in the habit of answering the door after dark. I hardly do it when it's light. Nobody comes to the front door except people asking for money in one form or another.

But I answered - I opened to a man I didn't even know.

Dumb, I know.

"Can I get a yard sign?" he asked.


I looked confused.

"Is this where Primo lives?"

Yes, I told him.

"I got his piece in the mail today. I looked him up online. I like him. Can I have a yard sign for my yard?"

Well yes you may!

I asked him his address. We want to keep track of the signs so we can collect them after the election. They're not cheap and if Primo ever runs for office again, we can re-use them.

"It's the house with all the [PD presidential candidate] signs in the yard," he announced.

Crap. That's not exactly what we're going for. The piece the guy got in the mail shows Primo standing between two people. One is wearing a t-shirt for the Polka Dot Senate candidate, the other is wearing a shirt for the Stripes candidate.

"They're just friends of the photographer," Primo said, "but I have met people who are voting for the Stripes guy who have said they would vote for me."

We really want Primo to stand on his own - for voters to evaluate him as a person, not as part of a party. But what can you do?

I gave him a sign. He left. I returned to my cake making. Put the batter in the pan. Put it in the oven. Started cleaning up.

The doorbell rang again. Now what?

I opened - it was our neighbors down the street who had agreed to work at the phone bank. We'll call them Mork and Mindy, which are obviously not their real names and not intended to be insulting at all - they are very nice people - but these are easy names to remember. I lose track of which name I've given to which person. I do have a list, but you know. Still better to have memorable names.

They were concerned about working at the call center. What if they gave wrong information? They assured me that as strong Polka Dots, he had their support, but they wanted to be able to answer questions that voters might ask.

I was impressed that they thought people might actually be interested enough in the race to ask questions instead of hanging up.

Then I got stressed out because they started asking questions I could not answer. What does he think about the fracking bill? What about the wolf hunt? The union contracts?

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know! I felt like I was about to explode. I hate it when someone asks me something I can't answer but I feel like I should know the answer. The pressure. The pressure!

I kept trying to suggest that they email him or call him or I could have him call them. But they wanted to know!

The timer went off for the cake.

I gasped. "I have to get that," I said. "Just come into the kitchen with me."

No, they really didn't have anything else. They would email him. But wait! One more question!

The timer went off again. "I have to get that!" I insisted. "It will burn!" I ran into the kitchen. They followed. I worried that the toilet might not be flushed. (Just yellow, OK? Water is a precious resource that we should not waste.)

I pulled the cake out of the oven.

Primo walked in the door.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

They all went into the living room. He answered their questions. They went home. The end.


  1. Couldn't they find the answers to these questions in the literature? Still, at least they're making an effort.Tell me that cake didn't burn!

    1. No, Primo didn't detail his position on every issue in the literature. We only had a few pieces and they were pretty generic. You know - he's against crime and for schools. I don't mind voters wanting more information, but I didn't have it!

      The cake was fine. I baked a cake later for Mork because he liked it so much. (The polenta cake.) They came to the phone bank both times, which was so nice of them. Baking a cake was the least I could do.