Walking in Trenton.

Today was the day the local Democrats decided to waste two hours handing out campaign literature door-to-door in the town I live in. (Notice that I avoid the use of the word "hometown", because I still don't like thinking of Trenton as home.) I didn't really enjoy my experience meeting the Trenton Democratic Club or dropping literature Downriver, so agreeing to a lit-drop with the Trenton Democratic Club was probably a really dumb idea. Did I let that stop me? Of course not.

So I head to the same activies center the Club used for all it meeting. (I drove by a street fair I wasn't expecting -- Dammit, it's the Scarecrow Festival again!) This time, the Trenton Dems had numbered the tables, but nobody bothers to explain what the numbers are for. I sit down at table Number Five, just because its empty, and I hate people. Turns out, I'd volunteered to deliver campaign literature in Precint Five. I live in Precint One. I had no idea where Precint Five is. In fact, I didn't think Trenton was big enough to need that many precincts. Shows what I know.

Some older women sat down after I did, accidentally volunteering themselves for Precinct Five. Yeah, whatever. After Christine, doyenne of the Democratic Club give a bunch of maps of the pricinct, I let the ladies choose what areas they wanted to walk. (This was less a matter of chivalry, and more a matter of apathy. I walk where the party needs me to walk.) After getting my map, I realize that I've (completely by accident) volunteered to walk the neighborhood where my high-school buddy Ian lives, so I have been there once.

The Trenton Democrats apparently underestimated their turnout (again), so Christine gave me a disturbingly small stack of campaign literature, and told me I could come back if I ran out. What?

I started on the street my buddy lives on, thinking that I could stop by and demand he give me a soda as thanks for my selfless committment to our political process. But all I heard when I got to his porch was his wife yelling at the kids, so I decided not to interupt. They're probably Republicans anyway -- everybody else in our hometown was.

Anyway, when you've done a lot of door-to-door work live I have (two political campaigns, two fundraising jobs, one security job, and a candy bar sale in grade school), you begin to notice that many neighboorhoods have strange quirks that set them off from other neighborhoods in town. In one neighborhood, every house might the same stupid sidewalk tiles. In another neighborhood, everyone has bought the same welcome mat. The quirk in this neighborhood? A lot of houses have vinyl-covered porches. The problem with that quirk? Vinyl porches are slippery when they're wet. I went flying right off a porch that had been slicked by a garden sprinkler, and landed ass-first in some nearby petunias. (I'm anything but a horticultural expert, but the homeowners had helpfully placed a small plastic "Petunias" sign next to the flowers, so that I would know exactly what I had flattened.) I don't feel too bad about it, though, because that house had a George Bush sign in its yard.

I did run out of campaign literature, forcing me to drive back to the staging area (cursing all the way) to get more. Unlike the last lit-drop I worked, I actually did get to talk to one human being, mostly because she wanted to see what her dog was barking at. (At the time she came out of her house, I was doing the canvasser/dog dance -- that's where you take a step forward, then a step sideways, then maybe a step back, then another step sidways, while trying to figure out if it's safe to try to walk around a barking dog.) She seemed interested in how I thought "the young voters" were going to vote.

After finishing most of my designated turf in my two designated hours, I drove to the rec center (again). Although it was a short drive, I decided to turn on the radio in my parent's truck. Normally, they have the radio set to a bad country station, but today it was set to a bad oldies station. The first song I heard was "For What's It Worth", the song which haunted me the entire day I volunteered in Allen Park. If I believed in higher powers, that might be creepy.

Again, they served hot dogs to the volunteers. (We used to get pizza and Mexican food in Arizona.) The older ladies who also walked in Precint Five asked me how the young voters are going to vote this year. Apparently, I've become the designated representative of the young voter in Trenton. I'm 33. Jeez, how old do I have to be before I'm not the youngest Democrat in Trenton?

Posted at 11:52:37 PM EDT on 09 October 2004 from Trenton, MI