This weekend I performed the most dreadful task ever designed by the modern age. I worked the phone bank. I sat for 2 ½ hours making phone calls. Mind-numbing, spirit-crushing, anxiety-producing phone calls.
Today is Election Day. I feel so strongly about my candidate for St. Paul mayor, that I volunteered to work the phone bank. Hey, it was either that or door knocking, which, is so off the scale for horrible, I couldn’t even consider it.
Upon entering the campaign office, the organizers handed me a script, along with a huge list of people to call. I was to remind the person on the other end of the line to support our candidate. Even though I was there for 2 ½ hours (did I mention that?), I can tell you, I never stopped dreading every single call. I prayed to the gods of voicemail that the resident would not answer their phone. And when they did, even though they were usually pretty friendly, I hated every minute of it.
I listened to some of the other volunteers packed into the room. They put me to shame. They were cheerful! They actually went “off-script” and chatted about the candidate! Not me. I do not have the confidence to talk “freestyle” about the issues. And mostly I am afraid of rejection.
And here’s the real rub for someone who likes things wrapped up in a neat package: they handed me 14 pages of phone numbers to call. By the time I was finished I had only 3 pages left to call! I had wanted to hand the packet to the coordinator and say, “Here you go! Mission accomplished!” But I couldn’t. I had to quit. My ear ached, my brain was frazzled, and my self-confidence was shot.
Today, believe it or not, I am doing it again. That is how much I love this candidate. I wonder if it is too late to change my attitude. I know I could never be cheerful talking to perfect strangers whom I worry will slam the phone down on me any minute. But perhaps I don’t need to take it all so personally.
And perhaps my candidate will walk in the door and shake my hand and thank me for all my efforts. That would certainly help a lot.
Gosh, I hope he wins.