Every Canvasser’s Dream

Porta-potties are one of the world’s greatest inventions. They stink, but you can crap in them.

Never before in your life will you have the occasion to marvel at the ingenuity behind their invention ‘till you become a door-to-door canvasser. Five nights a week, five hours a night, you’re out there — and where to pee?

Coffe can sometimes be necessary (as well as a cigarette, if you’re partial to that) during a brief break to provide an energy boost — but you can see where that gets you.

Behind the bush? On the far side of the park? Under the big whatz-it’s over there, that industrial thing [hey, wait a minute . . . what is that thing?]. Where not to be seen? (And, of course, potentially arrested!)

One fellow canvasser I worked with once stated that “you developed this preternatural ability to hold it” after canvassing for long enough . . . and this is true enough, if you both forget about it and haven’t drunk a whole lot of coffee or whatever recently, but . . . barring that . . .

Asking at a door is kinda verboten. I mean, you can try, but chances aren’t too good. I once alienated an otherwise-supportive and previously-friendly youngish woman by asking for, receiving permission to, and then going ahead and using, her bathroom. Only after I returned from relieving myself did she ask if I had an I.D. and then hand me the $15 check she had already been in the process of writing out when I exited the room with the qualifying statement: “I guess I have to trust you are indeed with who you say you are” (i.e., OSPIRG).

It wasn’t until I left the house that it dawned on me that she had been home alone with two small children; and, once I left the living room and her immediate vicinity, she must have realized there was a strange man she had only just recently met out roaming around in her house beyond her range of vision. Oops.

Which is probably part of the reason why canvassers are officially advised not to enter canvassee’s private residences at all — we’re told it’s for the canvasser’s safety, and that may be true, but to speak from my experience in that regard, the sort of people who give you cues that they may be a little “off” are often harder to leave behind at the door than they’re difficult to turn down for an invitation in (say, out of the rain, or whatever) to chat a little bit more about the campaign [boy, can some people “talk” – without saying anything! For extended periods of time! When you’ve got 1½ hours to make quota for the week, say!]

But . . . oh yeah, where was I?

Oh yes: porta-potties.

God bless porta-potties. God bless you, one and all (except for the ones with padlocks on the doors — curses! foiled again!).


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