Digging a Hole

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yes, I Have to Work Today

Oh, werd?
Weekend snow would have been lovely. Then, I could have watched it fall while tucked warmly in my blankets making vague plans for sledding and hot chocolate later in the day. Unfortunately, Saturday brought only a bitterly cold, grey (British grey) day with not a flake. Today, our small overnight snow storm has been upgraded to a blizzard warning, and the snow which was to stop falling at noon will now go until midnight.
What does this mean for east coast canvassers? Well, in theory, those of us who had vacation days could take them. I have budgeted all of mine for a trip to Ireland in two weeks, though... But the problem remains that newer staff don't have that luxury, and since canvassers raise their own salary, a day skipped is a day unpaid. And so, my mind wanders not to thoughts of rosy cheeks and cocoa, but to thoughts that perhaps a desk job is not such a bad thing.
So, while you enjoy your days off or your indoor jobs, please remember the canvassers of PA, NY, and NJEF because we will all spend the day outdoors.

Here is a blizzard-tage of the previous best bad winter weather canvasses:

Springfield, Winter 2006:
Contact: I can't open my door.
KPd.: Oh, don't worry. We are registered with the police department.
Contact: No, seriously. I can't open my door. The snow drift is piled too high.

KPd.: Hi! I'm Kerry
:::door opens:::
:::entire contents of roof slide down onto my head:::
:::door closes:::

Erok on phone: I am at a deli with five scratch off lottery tickets. I am going to try to win standard for everyone, so we can all go home.
Sarah: Did we win?
Erok: No... Sorry.
Shamar: I say we go home anyway.

Cedar Grove, Winter 2008:
KPd. (on phone): What do you do if the van is sliding on an icy hill?
Erok: Hmm... Well...
KPd.: You might want to make this quick because we are about to involuntarily back out onto Bloomfield Avenue.

Allendale, Winter 2009:
Erok: I need you to pick up Lacey. She fell on ice.
KPd.: Okay. Let me get June to help.
Erok (five minutes later): Also, look for Chris. He slipped and dislocated his shoulder.
KPd.: Okay. Still walking to the burb. Oh, I see June. June!
:::slips and lands on head:::
June: Are you alright?
KPd.: Here're the keys. I need you to get the burb and pick up me, Chris, and Lacey.

Columbus, Ohio, Winter 2009:
KPd. (on phone): It's snowing but the [group I can't name because they will send Eric an angry email] has us driving around in death traps with bald tires.
Kevin: It can't be that bad.
Liz: We had to scrape ice off the INSIDE of the windshield.
Kevin: Oh... Ohio could use a little climate change.

East Lansing, Michigan, Winter 2005:
KPd.: Does it ever not snow here?
Canvass Director: It's the lake effect.
KPd.: Was that thunder?!
Canvass Director: That happens here sometimes.

Verona, every winter storm:
Verona man: How come you always come when the weather is so bad?
KPd.: Because you are the closest neighborhood to our office that we can get to.
Verona man: Oh, well, if you help shovel while I get my wallet, I'll give twenty.

Verona woman: I don't open my door when it is snowing.
KPd.: It's always snowing when we come here.
Verona woman: Well, so much for global warming then, huh?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

True Story

Oh, werd?
Many people ask me, particularly when I come to their door in February, "Aren't you concerned about your safety?" While I have never felt uncomfortable wandering around NJ by myself, I always pretend that there is another, larger, canvasser, like... my brother... on the other side of the street just in case the person asking is an ax murderer. The only really scary things I have seen recently are black bears (yikes!). Recently, though, I was reminded of a scary turf incident that I had forgotten about.
About two years ago, on a dark January night, I was canvassing a fairly well-to-do neighborhood in Basking Ridge, NJ. We call these neighborhoods 'poppin' fresh' due to the fact that all of the cookie-cutter mansions seem to have just arisen from the former farmland complete with tiny, baby trees. Canvassing these areas can be a mixed bag. Lots of young families (plus!) who just had built for them a custom anti-green design home (minus) who are sometimes aware of the fact that their neighborhood used to be a farm (plus!) but likely spent way more on their mansion than they could actually afford (minus).
In poppin' fresh, I have rarely encountered a house whose exterior aroused any suspicion. There are no Crazy Old Guys or half-way homes for registered sex offenders. For this reason, I must admit, my guard was down when a well-dressed man in his mid 40s or so threw open the door with a huge smile.

Well-Dressed Man: That's Pringle's group, right?
KPd. (excited that someone knows our lobbiest): Yeah!
WDM: You must be freezing. Come on into the foyer and warm up.

The interior was gorgeous with hardwood floors, a custom kitchen, and lovely artwork. I noted that there were children's toys which, I admit again, lowered my defenses further. Dads are always friendly.

WDM: So, tell me again, what are you working on?
KPd.: (something about sewer development rules around C3 waterways)
WDM: Interesting... so, what do you think about global warming?
KPd. (smelling a trap): That really is not the focus of our local efforts right now.
WDM: But surely you have an opinion. Mr. Pringle certainly does.
KPd.: You would have to ask him, then. Look, do you agree with the issues we are working on or not?
WDM: I think that global warming is blown way out of proportion.
KPd.: Okay... well... that is not an issue that we are working on at a state level. We are working on water protection rules.
WDM: Well I probable disagree with those too.
KPd.: That's fine. Then thank you for the warm air. Have a great day. Bye.
WDM: You don't want to debate me to try to change my mind?
KPd. Actually, that's not my job. My job is to find the people that already support these issues, and get them to write letters to their elected reps.

At this point, the well-dressed man pushed his front door closed and locked it. My heart sank. I was definitely about to be murdered. Damnit.

WDM: Are you scared? (Actual quote.)
KPd. (mentally noting the location of the kitchen door): Not of debating you because I'm pretty smart, and I would likely win. I am scared because you just shut and locked your door.
WDM: Well come on! If you're so smart, beat me in a debate.

This back and forth went on for what felt like 20 minutes but was probably more like two.

KPd.: Not my job. Look, where are your wife and kids? They have got to be coming home soon. It's going to look pretty sketchy that you have a 25 year old woman locked in the living room. (Actual quote.)
WDM: Fine. Leave.

As soon as I got out of that house, I ran the block to Shamar's turf while calling him on my phone. We spent the rest of the evening canvassing together. For some reason, I completely forgot that this night ever happened until about two weeks ago, when we returned to Basking Ridge.

Guy With an Obama Sticker on his Mini Van: Community organizers are always welcome here. Come inside! Hey kids! Come downstairs! I want you to hear this.
KPd.: (something about the permit extension act)
GWAOS: This is great. We will definitely write letters. Heh heh.... I wonder what Mr. __ thought about this...
KPd.: Why? Who's that?
GWAOS: He lives directly behind my house.
KPd. (suddenly remembering): On Dryden?
GWAOS: Yeah. He *hates* canvassers. I always wondered how he actually responds to them.
KPd.: He locked me in his house two years ago!
GWAOS: Really!? Wow..... That's way more over the top than I would have expected.
KPd.: Why does he hate canvassers so much?
GWAOS: He's a board chair at Exxon-Mobile.
KPd.: (spits out hot chocolate in surprise)

So, there you have it. I was briefly kidnapped by a board chair at Exxon-Mobile. True story. =)
Also, what an asshole...