Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Danger: Canvassing

First of all, I would like to extend a hearty Roanoke welcome to Maccy Jr, who is speedy, wonderful and serves as a daily reminder that I now owe my parents money like a 16 year old who bought a prom dress that was way too expensive. It's a good thing he's cute.

Having returned to Roanoke Sunday night, my "real" life has been in full swing for two days now. Upon stepping into work on Monday, I fully realized that, while my work-life had been on pause for five days, no one else's had. The office recently purchased a location for a Thrift Store to benefit both us and our clients, and we've been raising money to make this longtime dream a reality. Before I left, people had thrown around the idea of canvassing to not only spread awareness of our new venture, but also to raise funds. Turns out that the very day I got back was the same day chosen as Canvassing Day Part 1.

I've never canvassed. Also, we've been having some freak thunderstorms in the valley since I got back. (The story of Mr. Merlot driving in hail through like four feet of water is a whole other blog post in and of itself. I was cringing the entire time.) So when I was sent out on my first canvassing adventure with heavy grey clouds looming overhead, I was skeptical. We paired up, so OfficeMate and I (naturally) trudged along the sidewalk-less busy road, going uninhabited house to uninhabited house, leaving bright yellow fliers for the lovely residents to find when they got home. I tell myself that these fliers did not get blown away in the wind, and that each person who laid eyes on them donated $500. A girl can dream.

In the 20ish houses we visited yesterday, we encountered maybe four people. Two were grandparentish, and our initial welcome from those homes were children peering out of windows. Grandparents did not seem remotely interested. We woke up one woman from sleeping, even though it was around 1p. She works the night shift at her job and was not amused nor did she care about nonprofits. To be fair, I wouldn't be halfway through my sleep cycle, either. I don't even know why she answered the door.

And then there's my personal favorite. OfficeMate and I had a pretty good system down; he'd knock, if they answered the door I'd give the schpeel, we'd throw in some "if you have any questions, call us here or visit our website," and keep it fast and simple. One man answered his door while he was on the phone and we awkwardly waited for him to finish his conversation. The longer we waited, the more awkward the situation became. He finally tells us, "Come on in, you guys!"

Have you ever seen that episode of the Sopranos where Dr. Melfi is going down the stairs into the parking garage and you can tell something terrible is about to happen? I lived that moment.

This guy is in a weird basementish type room with chairs covered in laundry, he owns three very overweight football-sized dogs who yap, and has a lone computer in a corner. It's the unibomber's shed, Roanoke-style. OfficeMate has shut the storm door behind us, but left the main door wide open. The man looks at him and says, "Shut the door, son." I thought to myself, "I don't want to die in this awful room with three fat, little dogs." Eventually, this man gets off the phone and we give him a shaky and uncomfortably fast run down. "Thrift store, uhh.... donations. We're opening...downtown... CALL IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS BYE!"

I, personally, booked it out of there, trusting OfficeMate to get out alive on his own. Survival of the fittest, guys. Don't judge.

And that's just the beginning! Once these crazy storms die down, I get to do MORE neighborhoods! Oh joyous day. If you don't hear from me for a while, think of me every time you see an overweight dachshund.

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