One of the projects I recently participated in was helping a friend of mine campaign for an upcoming election. Most of the work I did was behind the scenes (or should I say behind the screen). However, when the petitioning process began, I had no choice but to get my ass off of the couch.
When candidates run for office, they must obtain a certain amount of signatures from people registered within their political party. This is what's called "petitioning". Hitting the trail was a new experience for me. I felt apprehensive about it. What do you say? How do you ask strangers for their signatures? I knew it had to be done, but how...HOW???
The answer to that question was two-fold. A fellow volunteer for the campaign gave me a tutorial. I tagged along while he worked his magic on patrons at one of our local Farmer's Markets. It seemed easy enough. And with a wave of my clipboard, I was off.
As it turned out, having a smooth spiel wasn't the only asset I possessed to get the job done. Quite a few male callers took this as an opportunity to put their moves on me. A lot of my conversations went something like this:
Me: "Hi. Are you a registered democrat living in the city of Rochester?"
Random guy: "Yes, I am."
Me: (thought bubble) My face is up here. "My friend [insert name here] is running for [insert position here]. Would you be willing to sign the petition to get her on the ballot?"
Random guy: "Sure. Anything for you."
Some attempted to carry the conversations further, venturing off into unrelated topics. I politely ended them by nabbing my next victim. A sprightly 68-year-old gentleman even kissed me on the cheek. I warded him off with my clipboard. Worst yet, he didn't even give me a signature. The whole experience just made me feel dirty.
All in all, we were successful in our endeavor. It did reinforce my belief that frogs come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Well that, and clipboards can be handy weapons!