“Jumping on Board” to Obama’s Campaign

Thursday I noticed I was repeating things I’d done two, three weeks ago.  But now the air is cooler and the trees rustle more as the leaves fall off.  I had lunch at Doma and when I looked out the window, there was the painter I’d interviewed a few weeks ago. 

Now his painting had morphed, just like he said it would.  I think I liked it better in the earlier version.  I read some of my book, which is research for my new play.  It’s depressing.
The older couple who had sat down next to me were speaking a language I didn’t recognize.  I speak French, Russian and a little German, so I am good at recognizing most languages, but this didn’t sound familiar.


Who: Henriette and Vagn Kondsen
Where: Doma, NYC
Occupation: Tourists  and parents (today)
Henriette and Vagn tell me that they are visiting New York for two weeks and today they have already been uptown and all over Soho.
“It’s exhausting isn’t it?” I say.
“Oh yes, we are glad to sit down.”
“Do you live here?” Vagn asks me.
“Yes, just over there,” I point.
“You are so lucky.  We love the village,” he tells me.
“We are visiting our daughter, but she’s working so much that we barely see her.”
“What does she do?” I say.
“She’s here working on the Obama campaign,” says her mother proudly.
Emma Kondsen came over from Demark to work as a volunteer to get my (crossing fingers) president elected. She’s been here for four months.
“You must be very proud,” I say.
Her parents looked so proud that I think I see tears in their eyes.
“It must be a wonderful thing being a parent,” I say.
“It’s so wonderful,” says her mom.

After pointing them to my favorite neighborhood book store “Three Lives” I went home.  My phone rang and it was unknown number.
“Hello,” I say.

“Hi, my name is Michelle and I’m calling from Barack Omama’s campaign.”

No, it wasn’t Michelle Obama, it was just someone named Michelle.
They were looking to see if my husband, who had donated money wanted to volunteer.
“He’s probably too busy,” I say.  “But, I’ll do it.”

The last time I helped out with a campaign, the guy won.

I spent some of my Saturday afternoon helping Barack Obama get elected.  We were calling North Carolina residents to tell them about early voting.
As I sat down for my two-hour obligation, I felt a combination of excitement for getting to be a part of the process and regret.  Don’t I have better things to be do like writing my play -or sleeping?  Also, I hate it when people call me, so this might be an agonizing two hours, but it wasn’t.  It was exciting, and after a few calls, I found my voice and got on a “roll.”   I realized right away that the script we had in front of us, might not exactly prepare us for what North Carolinans might throw our way.  For example, the woman who answered the phone on my very first call told me she wasn’t voting for either candidate because neither one was a Christian.  I didn’t know what to say to that.

Eric Frazier

Eric Frazier

I left several messages and got comfortable with the script.  Then, I got a guy who told me he was voting for McCain because “he liked to hunt.”  I didn’t have a script, but I talked to him for awhile. I got him thinking that he was wrong; that he should do some research. Neither candidate has a platform about “guns.” And Obama isn’t going to prohibit hunting.
I met some other volunteers, but we were all pretty busy, so I didn’t really stop to do interviews per se.
I met Eric Frazier who is a lawyer who has been working on the Democratic campaigns for several years.  Eric and I talked in between every call, congratulating each other on a job well done.
He couldn’t believe how many people hung out on the phone and wanted to talk to me.  I couldn’t believe it myself.  It was kind of weird.  With the simple words “do you have a few minutes to talk to me?” I got more yeses and talked with more people than I expected, and those words were not in my script.
I felt like I made a difference, even if it resulted in one or two people.  I’m glad that I volunteered for Obama’s campaign.

New York phone bank

New York phone bank

They’ve already called me to come back.  I’m thinking about it.  I’ll probably do it this weekend.  My brother will be here, so maybe I’ll bring him along.

Jim Diederich

Jim Diederich

3 responses to ““Jumping on Board” to Obama’s Campaign

  1. Excellent that you worked the phone banks.

    I have a theory about phone banking. People are more willing to talk to a woman with a nice sounding voice than to a man.

    Is that why McCain chose Palin?

    Or maybe he was waiting for the day he could get her outfitted in leather.

  2. Hey Noni,

    enjoyed the story very much. Great that you volunteered. A good deed and you got a story out of it. Bonus! Obama’s is the first campaign I ever donated to. Crossing my fingers with you.

  3. I still haven’t volunteered and feeling guilty about it, though I gave some money. PS I hear NYC is like DC this year – we didn’t have any fall. It’s just cold and winter suddenly!

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