Work is over, again.
I was part of a political operation (a small part) again. Election work is, by its nature, temporary and cyclical. Every second Tuesday in November there is a flurry of activity, followed by the campaign workers’ election night tradition: heavy drinking. If you win, you drink to celebrate. If you lose, you drink to lick your wounds. If you are a peon like me you drink in relief that you no longer have to deal with perfect strangers yelling at you.
I didn’t join the parties this time. The crush of people milling about drinking beer was simply too much for me. A friend (the best man from my wedding) died the week before, and his funeral was on Monday. I could not attend, because the funeral was across the country and I have no frequent flyer miles left. (The Rocket Scientist was there, thankfully.) I had had to leave work Monday after one woman was particularly nasty and I found myself crying uncontrollably. I was not crying about her, really, but out of grief and loss. It was the first time that I had cried about Rob; I was also crying for my mother — the loss of Rob brought up her death, which I had thought I had dealt with.
I hope people in my life stop dying for a little while. I know that I am getting older, and I can expect more and more death (including my own) in my future, but I am not ready for it. My mom died in May, another friend in August, Rob at the end of October. Two of those people were younger than 55, two if them died suddenly with no warning.
I did pull things together enough to go to work Tuesday. Election day is my favorite day of the campaign — we’re really just calling people to remind them to vote. It’s a cause near and dear to my heart. (The low turnout for this election makes me unhappy.) My favorite anecdote: in the evening before the polls closed, I called a house asking for a particular voter. His housemate answered.
“Is Fred [not his real name] there? I am calling to see if he was able to get out to vote, and if he knew where his polling place was.”
“Fred is not home. Just one moment.” Turning away from the phone, I hear him yell, “Did everyone here VOTE?” “YES!!!!” came the emphatic response from what sounded to be about twenty people. “”We’re all good here, thank you.” I was laughing so hard I could barely get out my own thanks. I hope they had a good party.
Wednesday morning I awoke with my usual post-election reaction: “Phew, the campaign is over. Thank God. Oh, wait, crap, that means I’m unemployed again.” [Panic.]
I need to reassess what I want to do, now. While I know there will be election work in 2016, I clearly can’t wait until then to work. I need the structure. (The money is nice, but between the amount I spend on gas getting to work and the amount I spend sitting in Starbucks before work, I don’t have much left. We get a decent hourly wage, but not a lot of hours. For most people this is a labor of love, a dedication to the values we want our elected officials to respect. We’re working for change.)
I love the people I work for, and the people I work with. (Although there are changes in personnel to some extent, there is a core group which has worked the past two years on various campaigns.) There is, of course, no guarantee that I will be called back for the next campaign. While they like me personally, I don’t know how well I do at this.
And then there is the question of whether it would be good for me. I work elections because I think they matter: otherwise, you could not pay me enough to do this. I will probably never go to bat for a Republican for that reason. I need to figure out whether, political meaning aside, the psychic toll elections take on me is worthwhile. There is an entirely different post about that, somewhere.
An email from a nonprofit organization I was desperately hoping to volunteer for got lost among a bunch of solicitations from financial and insurance firms to come and interview for them. (What the hell about my resume screams “financial advisor” or “insurance”?) I missed my chance, and feel particularly badly about this because a very good friend had suggested it to me, and said she would go to bat for me. I hate disappointing people.
I have another post in me about the results of the election and what they mean (namely, the left-of-center did a piss-poor job of getting their people to the polls). Right now, it is too discouraging to contemplate. I am trying to live in the now: the gorgeous Northern California twilight, the soft voices of the people around me. The twang of Blake Shelton’s “Neon Light” coming through my headphones. I am trying to decide what to do this evening that would be fun.
It’s hard. The movies that are coming out, most of which I want to see sometime, are serious dramas that I doubt I would find engaging right now.
I decided pretty much against NanoWriMo. I might have done NaBloPoMo, but I missed several days, so am out of the running on that one, as well. I suppose I could try to do what I did last year, and see how much I can blog this month. Last year, it was about 38K. I hope to get farther than that. I need to get cracking, though. I need to write a little over 2600 each day to make the goal of 60K.
I think I have a lot of potential fodder. I have a memorial for my friend Rob that I wrote down the old-fashioned way (on paper! with a pen!) that I need to convert into pixels.
I have a reflection of nihilism and despair I am working on. (I didn’t start writing this because I was in despair, but because I heard an NPR discussion about nihilism.)
I have a post on what politicians really mean when they say “We can’t guarantee their safety.”
I have various ideas for posts that I jotted down during down times while I was working.
There is always more to comment on than I have time — from Slacktivist, LGM, and especially Mike the Mad Biologist. Sometime I am overwhelmed by all there is in the world. This xkcd cartoon sums up my feelings nicely.
I am not a citizen journalist. I am a blogger. I suppose there is a post in that, as well. I might wish that this were a more significant endeavor, but right now, it’s unimportant to most everybody but me. (Most of my family doesn’t even read this, unless I point out a specific post. My Facebook friends are another story. I get comments there on what I write here since they are crossposted.)
But if you enjoy reading, continue to watch this space.