Friday, November 11, 2005

Confessions from the campaign trail

I am, by far, not the greatest campaigner in town. Lots of the candidates canvassed the town with afternoon campaign walks.

I chose to camp out for a couple of weekends at the transfer station. The first Saturday was cold! But the weekend before the election was practically balmy.

But I must say, it feels dumb waving to people driving in and out of the transfer station. Don't get me wrong, it's a very effective way of getting attention. However, every once in a while I almost broke out in laughter. Every fourth or fifth vehicle would ineveitably be a rugged looking truck with two or three rugged looking construction workers looking equally burly.

I would stand there and think to myself, "Is it right to wave to these guys? Do I look like Curly Howard of the Three Stooges when I wave? Use the whole hand wave, not the half-hearted finger wave..." So a split second later, I found myself waving a manly wave. As the glare of sunlight moved across the windshield of the two-story pickup trunks, I could see the terrified faces of grown men cringe as if to say, "You really aren't going to make us wave back at you, are you?"

My head would, ever so slightly and excruciatingly slowly, nod up and down, "Oh, yeah." Rolling their eyes as if their mother's told them there would be days like this, they'd awkwardly wave back and make it look as if a bee were bothering them so as not to raise the suspicions of their drinking buddy.

Some people think the ancient arts of self-defense require years of sacrifice and physical training to bring out the warrior personna. Those of us who run for local office know better. When someone looks like they want to get tough - just give them the wave. Their body language will say it all, "No please, not that. Stop!"

One of the campaign experiments I exercised was to declare myself a Liberal Democrat in the campaign literature. I was curious and nervous that maybe voters would vote against a label than vote for the person.

Based on the empirical evidence, in Ashford, the bad-mouthing of the liberal label didn't work. IMO, that's a good thing.

I left Town Hall early on the night of the election, so I had to go to Town Hall Wednesday to get sworn in by Barbara Metsack. That evening was rainy and I found her office and she asked me how she could help me.

"I'm here to get sworn in."

"What office!?"

"Uh, Region 19." [Her eyes seemed to roll a bit as if to say, "A stray, always a stray."]

"Raise your right hand...."

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