"What are we doing this afternoon, Mommy?"
"Well, you're going to hang out with Daddy because I'm going to volunteer for -------. I'll be knocking on people's doors asking if they are supporting him. If you want to know the truth, I'm pretty nervous about it."
"Because I have a hard time talking to new people. I don't know what to say and I think about it too much and by the time I've figured out what to say, I think they are looking at me funny and then I start sweating and then I say something too silly or too fast and then I feel bad about myself."
"So why are you doing it?"
GOOD QUESTION. "Because I believe in ------, and this is going to be a tight election, especially in our state. I want to feel like I've done all I can to support him."
"You'll do great Mommy. I know how it feels to feel shy. Just take a deep breath."
"Thanks, sweatheart. Will do."
On Saturday afternoon, I went canvassing in a neighborhood not too far from my own, ringing doorbells and talking to people I don't know. ABOUT POLITICS.
|Ding Dong! It's your socially awkward neighborhood canvasser!|
It probably goes without saying at this point but this kind of activity is officially WAY outside the long term parking lot of the airport near my comfort zone.
I am surprised to say that though I sweated and trembled throughout the two hours that I canvassed, it wasn't totally awful. When I didn't think too much about what I was doing, the adrenaline was almost energizing, even when people were less than thrilled by my appearance on their doorstep.
I felt proud and, though I wouldn't claim that I changed anyone's mind (I clearly DIDN'T), it was also clear I was doing something I believed in.
Even more surprising: talking to new people is apparently a habit that one can learn. (WHO KNEW?) It got easier as I went along and when CG and I went out for dinner that night, I carried myself differently, a little more confidently. I wondered if I would run into anyone I had talked to that day and instead of feeling nervous about that, I actually felt more open, more confident.
Yeah, I don't pretend to understand how that works.
Sunday, at an outdoor art festival, instead of lurking around the art trying to check it out without having to engage the artist in awkward pleasantries, which is my usual M.O., I actually found myself enjoying talking with artists about their work. I wasn't trying to convince them to vote for anyone! It was positively PLEASANT.
Saturday night, bedtime.
"Mom? What will happen if the other guy gets elected? Will we get hurt? Will we have to leave the country?"
"What? No. NO. We will NOT have to leave the country. We will be just fine. One of the very cool things about our country is that elections happen and the losers are good sports and no one gets hurt or has to leave the country."
"Then why is it so important to you that people vote for -------?"
"I agree with a lot of his ideas and policies. I think there are a lot of hard decisions to be made but, in my mind, his ideas are the most fair, the most just and the most likely to work for most people."
"Okay. Can I walk with you next time, Mommy?"
"Um... next time?"