I found myself here as I was canvassing today. All day I had been practicing savoring little things. The way the light would fall on a tree, a street. A sudden view, or the look on someone’s face as we spoke.
It takes a lot for me to do this door-to-door thing. I am moderately phobic about who is behind the door. What I might see or encounter. Mostly it is fine, and no one has yelled at me or been abusive. I did have one unexpected encounter with a very large, un-neutered mastiff, but it turned out to be fine. The owner was a biker type who said he would not vote and if he did it would not be for Obama. I didn’t argue. Okey doke, I said, I am sorry to hear that.
People’s houses reflect them, I believe. I am always anxious when I approach a house that has a hoarder feel to it. If it is really unnerving, I mark the form “inaccessible.” Mostly, people have welcome mats and signs, and small, gracious gestures of the season – pumkins, flowers, and some Halloween decorations. I am always aware that I am entering their space, that it is their home, their domain, and I have not been invited. Mostly, when they see me – my blue glasses on my nose, my spikey hair and my manilla folder, they are welcoming and we talk.
I cannot get used to the answer, “I don’t vote.” It is often said with some pride and disdain. To vote is to represent yourself, to say,”these things matter to me.” It is participating, showing up, being all in.
Today I spoke with two young men in their mid-twenties. Both were undecided. One was so thoughtful, so intelligent and so emotionally connected that I wanted to talk to him longer, know more about his thinking. He said that he had a 6-month old daughter and he had to think about what would be best for her. That was the doorway I had been waiting for, Daughters, let me tell you about daughters. The other was flirty and funny and said he had voted for Obama in 2008. But he didn’t know, didn’t plan to vote. By the end of our brief conversation, I felt him soften, shift, re-consider.
I genuinely like these people about 90% of the time. And I like myself for liking them. More tomorrow. . .