Saturday I showed up at the Astoria Reshma 2010 headquarters after lunch. Reporting for duty, Sir! Or, rather, Ms. I reported to Lwiza.
When staffers compete over you - work my turf, work my turf, work my turf - you know you are smoking it as a volunteer.
Lwiza first game one map. I told her I had plenty of time. I was going to stick around for as long as it takes. So she gave me three maps. I ended up knocking on 110 doors. This was just the best canvassing I have ever done, like ever ever ever. The best part was working the housing projects. These housing projects were the exact opposite of their movie images. You could actually see little kids playing around on the green lawns between buildings.
I said to Lwiza before heading out, when I was a kid, and when somebody ran, and I needed to catch that person, I would go after that person, and I would send another kid to run around the building from the other side. You guys are already making the phone calls, and knocking on doors. Let me just go talk to people wherever I can find them, in stores, on the sidewalk, parks, wherever. She said no. We have a list of potential voters, and I need you to go talk to them specifically, she said. I said okay. She said she had already flooded the stores with Reshma 2010 literature.
But I did a little of both. I did everything she expected me to do. I knocked on every single door she asked me to knock. But I also talked to some random people in some random places. The two best ones were in two small parks.
The first one was this senior woman, she had seen Reshma on TV. I kept meeting people who had seen Reshma on NY1. That NY1 appearance by Reshma has been the turning point for the campaign, I think. Ends up this woman had sat on all sorts of committees while she was still working. She said she had friends among local labor organizations. I asked her to get 10 people to vote for Reshma. She said fine. After I left I had regrets. I should have asked for 20, I thought.
The second such talk was in another park when I felt like I was half done knocking on doors, and I took a small soda break. I found myself talking to these two elementary school teachers. These two women were special ed teachers. They said they were not even planning to vote on Tuesday, but now they were going to vote for Reshma. I got them to also promise that they will get 10 others to do the same as well.
The idea is that if one person will talk to 10 people, those 10 might talk to five each on average without even being asked to.
When I got back Lwiza had vitamin water for me. For me vitamin water is acquired taste. I learned to drink vitamin water when I showed up to make phone calls at the Reshma 2010 headquarters.
There was tremendous energy in the office. You could sense this quiet confidence among everybody. These people were plugged in all the way to midnight. And they come back to work early in the morning.
Reshma 2010 has felt like a tech startup to me from day one. It sure acts like one. Tech startups are known to burn the midnight oil.
I am going to keep showing up day after day. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. I am going to the Hudson Terrace party Monday evening.
In knocking on doors for Reshma 2010, I am rescuing myself. Slowly but surely my atrophied social muscles are building back up.
My personal plan is to raise 150K plus to do Iran democracy work. Third World dictators are my absolute favorite things to hate on this planet. Do the work, win the Nobel Peace Prize.
"I need the money," like Russell Crowe says in a movie.
I already did Nobel quality work in 2006, but they did not "get" it. Maybe after they see a repeat in Iran, they will "get" it. (Iran: A Brief Survey Through Time Magazine)
Russell Crowe - The Cinderella Man: "What the hell, I'm a working man," the former champion explained today. "I worked as a longshoreman before I was a fighter, and now I need the money, so I'm working again. I always liked hard work; there's nothing wrong with it."