Tuesday, February 8, 2011

a little canvassing memoir....

It's was 3 o'clock PM.  I had only one more hour to go.  One more hour in which I had to raise fifty-three more dollars so I could reach a hot-night (300+ dollars in one single shift).

I was standing on the corner of 7th AVE and 14th by myself.  My two coworkers were a block away, canvassing their dear hearts out.

Clipboard to my side, feet set apart, head high, smile on my face, and my spare hand ready to wave: Nothing could go wrong.  At least I thought so.

I saw a tall, handsome middle-aged business man walking towards me.  This was it.  I always got at least one big sustainer from a person of the more corporate variety getting off work every day.  My clipboard was full of generous one-time gifts from earlier, but I had yet to receive a monthly-member and I had a feeling this was going to be it. 

He was wearing a grey Armani Exchange suit, and was carrying an italian-leather briefcase. He looked like a genuinely nice guy.  Super Metro. 

 I use to think I had a grasp on profiling if people looked nice or not.  This wouldn't stop me from asking them, "If they have a minute for Women's Rights", but it would stop me from being so disappointed when nothing but garbage spew from their throats.

He was about 10 feet away when I made eye contact with him, catapulted off my feet and waved high smiling while saying, "Hello there sir, how are you today?  Do you have a minute for the pro-choice movement?"  I said it with such conviction I just KNEW he was going to stop for me.  

And guess what, he did!  

"Of course I do." Corporate said with a smile.

"Well thank you so much for stopping, what's your name?" I asked eagerly. 

"Sam." he stated.

"It's really nice to meet you Sam. My name is Nichole and I am a paid fundraiser working on behalf of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and I'm out here signing up members today, so I'm REALLY glad that you stopped. Have you heard of us before?" I asked.

"Of course I have! I am kinda in a little bit of a rush, if you could cut to the chase and I would love to get involved." Sam said.

"Sure no problem!  I completely understand." I said.  It was a Friday afternoon after all, and I was thankful this nice man even stopped for me as he probably wanted to get home and start getting ready for his weekend. 

"Well then shoot." he said with a smirk.  He was cute and I was glad I was getting him involved.

"The problem is, even though healthcare reform IS now law politicians are determined to deny women access to birth control and reproductive health care.................."  I kept going with my rap.  He was nodding, engaged, smiling EVERYTHING you wanted a potential donor to be doing.  I was going to get this.

"..........we're making sure that birth control and cancer screenings are covered under the new law as well as stopping unacceptable restrictions on a woman's legal right to choose."  I continued. 

"Wait.  You mean like.......killing babies?" Corporate asked.

"I MEAN making sure women in America have options." I said confidently.

"See you're a cute girl and everything, but a dime of my money will not be going to Planned Parenthood.  I've been at Protests, I hate what they do.  The world would truly be a better place if baby-killers like yourself did not exist." he said.  "Maybe your mother should have aborted you, HUH?"

His personality had changed.  He had been waiting until I mentioned anything about abortion to pounce and call me a baby killer.  Like why stop at all? Don't waste my time. Agree to Disagree. Geez. And before I could say anything he continued speaking.

"And I have a story for you. A buddy of mine use to work at the morgue, and we would go in after hours, and see all the dead aborted babies in jars and give them voices and play with them." He was smiling as he said this to me.  "People like you that kill human life, you're going to hell."

"Well sir.  Unfortunately I have a job to do here that does not involve facilitating a conversation about playing around with bodies at a morgue, so you have a good day."  I then jetted across the street.  

He screamed. "Baby-killer." after me.  I was done for the day.  Screw getting a hot night.

Despite interactions like this one, canvassing could be a blast at times.  But there are some sick fucks out there that prey on people just trying to raise awareness by standing on the street kindly asking if "you have a minute."  So if you guys see a canvasser out there and don't agree with what they're doing, don't stop.  They're not out there to change your mind.  They are there to find the people that DO care and get them involved.  And it can be a really lonely day if no one is stopping for them, or people are screaming at them one after the other so please I beg of you even if you don't agree BE POLITE. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a really good post. You write really well, keeping us on our toes. Enjoy your blogging about the pro-choice movement alot. keep it up.