The other night I got a phonecall that showed up on my caller ID as being from a private number. I figured it was a mistake, but answered anyhow. A young woman replied to my polite "Hello?" by saying, "Hello, I'm from Joan Dinglefwap's office and we were wondering if we could count on your support on election day." "What party is she?," I asked. The young woman said, "Liberal." I promptly answered, with a bit of an edge to my voice, "No she may not!" The young woman, apparently fearing that she was about to be held responsible for all the peccadilloes of the Libertals, hastily thanked me and hung up.
While driving home last night, I was thinking about that conversation, and then I remembered the time when I was that young woman, twenty-odd years ago. As part of my Social Studies class in Alberta, we were required to spend some time helping in a political candidate's office, as there was an impending election and our teacher thought this would give us an excellent insight into the workings of politics.
So there I was, put to work by a bevy of middle-aged women. They politely directed me to take the phonebook and start calling, and to note beside each name what the response was. "Hello, I'm calling from PC Jim Floofbrane's office and I wondered if we can count on your support on election day."
Now, this was Alberta in the early 80s. Over and over, I heard "Yes," "Yes," "Yes". Then I came to one household where I went through my spiel to the man on the other end of the line. He said "What?" So I repeated my spiel. He said, "Ohhhh, I get it, you're calling from one of the political parties!" I allowed as how I was. He then said, "Well, hey! Like, this is an NDP household." I apologized promptly, but he said "Nah, nah, that's cool." I could almost hear him scratching his belly while he reached for another joint. Despite this unparalleled opportunity to discuss the Albertan anti-Christ, I too hastily thanked him and hung up. It was the only interesting thing worth reporting in my Social Studies essay.
Later the politician came in, and the ladies immediately flocked around him and began billing and cooing. I hadn't met him before, so he came over and introduced himself with one of those bone-crushing handshakes that politicians favour, while giving me an extremely sharp visual assessment at odds with his big grin. Then he dismissed as being of under voting age, and went back to flattering his faithful devotees. I did learn things about politics while working in that office, no question.
Then there was the time I worked for the Green Party in Victoria...but that's another essay.