Sunday, April 03, 2005

You Can't Take Me Anywhere

I’ve been a regular political social butterfly this week. One candidate that I’ve been wanting to meet was having an open house. This wasn’t in the email I received from the campaign last week but it was on the website if you didn’t mind looking around a bit. It was way out of my way but there didn’t seem to be very many other opportunities. I hadn’t thought very well of this person, based on what I had read or seen, but there wasn’t much to read or see, so it was hard to form a valid opinion. Off I went, in a window of time between dropping a kid and cupcakes off at scouts and picking up an empty cupcake pan and a kid at scouts. There weren’t many people at the office when I arrived. My appearance took everyone aback. When I walked in it was like those old movies where someone scraps a needle across a record. I looked around to see what I might have done. Aha, I was the only white person in the room; you could almost hear the alarm “WHOOP WHOOP WHITE LADY WHITE LADY WHOOP WHOOP.” But the candidate, who had been in a back room, came out, perhaps concerned over the sudden silence, and stepped forward to shake hands. I had a few concerns which the candidate listened to and corrected some of my information. It was a nice chat. I left feeling much more positive than when I arrived. This proves the old axiom that you should go to the source. I will try to verify the new information but it does make more sense than what I had originally heard.

Someone already in office had an open house this weekend. Oddly enough this information wasn’t in an email I received from her office earlier this week either (“last day of the campaign finance reporting period – can you spare some change?”) but was left on my phone as one of those annoying prerecorded messages. I was a little wary because two years ago I went one of her open houses and it did not go well. Have we discussed my particular brand of charm? No? Well, it can be a bit “eccentric.” I went to that earlier open house with all good intentions. I chatted with the staff, made nice, ate a petit fours and some crudités. Then I worked by way back to where the official was. She smiled and extended her hand. Unfortunately at that moment I saw another official behind her that had been ducking my phone calls. I pointed at him in my best Javert fashion and said “AHA.” Ditching the hostess with her hand still extended I took off after my quarry and eventually pinned him down to ask my questions.

Were that not bad enough, when I started to work my way out of the room I found myself in the narrow crowded hallway just as someone started taking pictures for the paper. The photographer was trying to take a picture of the hostess and the mayor of a nearby small town. I flattened myself against the wall and looked over at a women doing the same thing on the opposite wall. “Suck it in!” I said to her, meaning that we should avoid having our guts ruin the shot. She laughed. The mayor, a “robust” guy, thought I was talking to him. In short, it was not a flaming success. I have avoided the hostess ever since. However, memories fade and perhaps it would be safe to go back.

Sure enough, this visit went off without a hitch. I also managed to get in and out with out signing in (as hikers say “take only pictures, leave only footprints,” -- I don’t even like to take pictures). She and I exchanged a few words, I ate a cookie, reconnected with one of her staff who has helped me out with letters of support for grants, and took off.

Perhaps the curse has been broken and it’s safe for me to venture out again…. Not one to press my luck, though, I spend this afternoon playing board games (Shaggy in the graveyard with the witchdoctor’s staff) and watching that campy old Adam West Batman movie. Life is good

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