Sunday, October 31, 2004

One Ringy-Dingy...

(Bonus points if you get the reference, but I'm guessing most readers of this blog -- like all three of them! -- are too young to get it.)

Okay, so I spent the better part of 5 hours tonight at Kerry/Edwards volunteering to phone bank for them. I have to admit I did it at least partly out of guilt because I didn't take the whole day yesterday to join the caravan up to Pennsylvania to knock on doors in swing states.

First, the place was absolute chaos. I suppose that's only natural, since we are on the verge of a pretty damn important election and there's a lot to be done in the last few hours before election day. But it was chaotic with a clear sense of purpose, kinda like ants running around the ant farm. They all have their purpose, and from a distance it appears like everyone's just going from place to place randomly, but they actually know what they're doing and there's some sort of method to the madness.

My job (which I shared with a huge slew of other volunteers): Pick up a list of registered democratic voters and call them all to remind them to make it the polling place on Tuesday. There were so many volunteers there that some of us had to whip out our cell phones and use them because there weren't enough land lines lying around. The funny thing about using your cell phone, of course, is that your number shows up on the recipient's caller ID. So at random times over the afternoon, I would actually get return calls from people -- usually people I had called but got no answering machine.

All in all, I had a pretty good time. Most of my job was leaving the same stock message over and over and over on people's answering machines, but I hope it makes a difference and gets people out to vote who otherwise would have been too lazy or otherwise unmotivated to make their way out. By far the best call I made went something like this:

Me: Hi, is ___ there?
Man: Sure, who's calling please?
Me: This is Dennis!, I'm calling from the Kerry/Edwards campaign.
Man: Okay, cool. [off the phone] Honey, it's for you! Some guy from Kerry's campaign. Tell him how much you hate Bush!
Me [when woman gets on the phone]: So, how much do you hate Bush?
Woman: I really really hate him.
Me: Excellent. Just what I wanted to hear!
Woman: Yeah.
Man [in background]: Woooo! Yeah! Go Kerrrrrrry!
Me: Woo hoo! So yeah, I was just calling to remind you to get to your polling place on Tuesday!
Woman: Oh yeah, we're planning on it.
Man: We're voting on Tuesday! Awright Kerry!
Me: Woo hoo! I'm glad you're excited and thank you so much for your support!
Woman: Yeah! No more Bush!
Man: Vote Kerrrrrry!
Me: Yay!

Everyone sharing the phone banking room was turning and staring at me by the time this conversation was done. When I finally hung up, I got a mild round of applause from those people who weren't already on new calls.

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