Thursday, November 5, 2009

Canvassing after dark.

Most people are happy to talk to me about the work CAC is doing right now, and that's awesome. But every now and again I get one of those people who walks around with a huge chubby because they're on the neighborhood association board for their shitty subdivision, and they tell me--quite certain in their status as a Big Deal Locally--that their town doesn't allow soliciting and that I shouldn't be out after dark because my presence is frightening and unwanted.

I ignore these people, because they're usually saying this at around seven or eight in the evening when I've already raised almost a hundred dollars from their neighbors whom they claim are so terrified of the little woman wielding a clipboard. But now and again they'll do what this bitch did.

She called all her neighbors, or at least phone-treed enough of them to cockblock me on the next several houses. She told me when she saw me that she'd informed her neighbors not to answer the door when I knocked, and in fact to call the local police department if I did so. Well, I talked to the cop who was out looking for me.

He said I was doing good work. I sympathized with him that he got called out over someone that his department already knows is working in the area, and we told each other to keep warm out there.

But seriously. Here are several things to remember if a canvasser knocks on your door.

1. I'm allowed to be there. No, really, I am. No little city ordinance against soliciting trumps CAC's right (and, frankly, your neighbors' rights) to free assembly and free speech. I'm out organizing, not selling thousand-dollar vacuum-cleaners. Nothing you can do to remove me from your street is legal, just your sidewalk and your lawn.

2. Your neighbors want me to be there. No, really. If I'm out canvassing, it's because we tend to hit our nightly quota in your neighborhood. Yes! Yours! Even with all those frightened old ladies and jumpy overprotective fathers, odds are your neighbors are much smarter than you are. Lucky thing for you, too, because their attention and contributions are serving you as well, whether you want to think about that or not.

3. If it's dark out and you think it's not safe for me to be outside, then you should invite me in, you asshole. If you're not worried enough about my safety in your neighborhood to call me in where it's warm and light and where there are cups of tea and $36 checks waiting for me, then you're not worried enough about my safety to mention it like you're doing me a favor.

3b. If it's dark and you think I shouldn't be out canvassing because it makes people nervous, congratufuckinglations. You have officially noticed one of the things that makes my job challenging. Are you honestly suggesting I stop early? Then write me a check so I can get done sooner. Oh, what's that? You don't really care if I have a job to do and bills to pay? Then please, by all means, tell me that you don't want to talk to me because I have no choice but to do my job in winter when the sun sets at 5:30. Bonus: congrats, you just made it take longer.

4. Signing shows you agree. Letters and contributions are how we win. Don't look at me all fucking shocked that the citizen-funded non-profit that lobbies and litigates for you is asking for a check. I already mentioned fundraising twice, and when you can find your own lawyer and lobbyist who'll work for you for less than $15 a year, you can tell me that you can't afford to stand up for yourself.

5. Cold beverages and food in summer. Warm beverages and food in winter. These things will make a canvasser happy almost as much as money. So if for some reason you don't have the time or funds to help us help you? Just give me some hot coffee and/or a bathroom break and I'll be on my way, ready to punch your utility company in the nuts in return for your generosity.

6. Holy fucking shit shut your dog up before I put it on a Foreman grill AND EAT IT.

That is all. My job is difficult, yes. Sure. But if it was easy, I wouldn't be doing it.


The Humanihilsocialist said...

I think you should just bark right back at the dogs. If that fails, mount it and hump it into submission. No, really, get straight nasty with it if you have to. The raw animal energy will show the owner that you mean business and aren't fucking around... well, maybe.

Who knows, it might even win you an invitation back.

But seriously folks, bestiality is not a laughing matter.

Thanks for doing what you do.

Lyon said...

*raises her coffee cup to toast you* I can't imagine what a pita you go through every evening, but I sure admire your ability to tell the story with humor and wit.