Another sweltering day, but one hard-won nugget. One elederly woman in a tiny apartment on Utica Ave remembered voting for Holtzman. She didn't remember anything odd about the campaign, didn't recall any particular advertising or literature that convinced her. But she had that puzzled expression as she was trying to recall, and, when probed, admitted that she just "had a feeling" that she should vote against the incumbent.
Feelings never just happen. It's not much to go on, but it's a clue.
Sometimes, the bear eats you. I woke up this morning and just couldn't get out the door. The prospect of another 90-degree day on the sidewalk just kicked my ***. I can rationalize with the best of them: a day with my feet up will make me more efficient, and I can refine my walk lists for the remaining areas based on the pattern I see emerging: only visit houses with Democratic voters who have a history of primary voting and skip those where nobody from 1972 is still alive, unless other family members display a similar voting pattern. And it has occurred to me now, too late, that I should have used the Social Security death database to eliminate houses where one member always votes Republican while the Democratic spouse is dead.
Too late for this round. Anyway. Turns out to be less houses, total, but more spread out. Sigh.
Get up and begin the long ride to Brooklyn, amid all the same commuters I see every day. They go to comfortable offices where they sit at desks and press buttons and talk on the phone. I get to hobble around Canarsie on bloody stumps and deal with blank stares.
I'm already sick of knocking on doors, and it's only Monday. This has been worse than I ever imagined it could be. I don't know what the hell I was thinking. The people who still live here are either elderly and inchoate or a younger generation which treats politicians with utter contempt and dismissal. Nobody I've talked to was even able to identify Elizabeth Holtzman as someone who once represented them in Congress; many could not place Watergate within a twenty-year time window, and a few didn't even know who Nixon was.
And on top of that, I have oozing wounds on both ankles that hurt with every step. Even gauze pads buffered with a layer of gaffers tape didn't help. Tonight, I feel the need for something stronger than ibuprofen. Back at it tomorrow.
Toward the end of the day yesterday, after knocking on two hundred doors in East New York, I realized that buying new shoes right before this effort was maybe not the smartest thing. Both my heels had been hurting for a while, and when I looked down, I saw blood on the back of both socks. So I did the best I could -- used a bit of the masking tape i have in the bag to put up fliers, and taped squares of McDonald's napkins over the ruptured blisters where the back of the shoes hit my ankles.
It was the culmination of a very frustrating first day, where the typical response was "what the *** are you talking about" when I could even get people to answer their doors. I'm running about 1 in 10 responses to doorbells. The rest I just stick fliers in the mail slots.
I did not anticipate the difficulty with apartment buildings. I tried buzzing randomly (even less printable responses) and following in people when they opened the doors (which earned me my first threatened 911 call).
And, let me tell you, it is a looooong ride back to Staten Island, B35 bus to the 2, to the Ferry, to SIRT to New Dorp, elapsed time about two hours if you make all the connections.
With bloody ankles, it feels like two weeks. Ibuprofen and bed.
Finally, my week of freedom is here, the one week a year where I get to do what I want. And I'm ready. Bought a new pair of shoes with cushioned insoles, SPF 50, and restocked my business cards from Vistaprint. (No endorsement is implied, nor should it be inferred; they're cheap and cheerful, and they get the job done.) Reviewed the walk lists for each day, the ingress and egress (Ferry as usual, then the 2 train, and one of several buses).
The mental prep is equally important. From long experience, I know that the mindset has to be equal parts certainty and resignation, like panning for gold. You need to work the plan with confidence, but not expect magic or be disappointed by hundreds of fruitless contacts. I imagine that those young political zealots who walk precincts for politicians must have the same attitude. Except, of course, that they are merely useful idiots maintaining the fiction of electoral democracy.
Been working on fliers for the upcoming canvass, something I can stick up on bulletin boards and lampposts as well as leave behind if there are houses with no answer.
Contact info is easy -- just send folks to this web site. I long ago gave up on all attempts at filtering my e-mail. You would be amazed at both the volume and quality of crap that gets flung into your inbox when you have spent as long as I have in the conspiracy world. Seriously. Spam filters run shrieking in terror. At least with a form, my inbox is manageable.
But phrasing the call to action is always tricky. I try to tell people a little bit to give them context, but not so much that it tips over into a sales pitch, or makes me sound like some of those other crazies out there. Say a little bit, encourage them to come read more, and ask for help if they remember anything, however seemingly insignificant, about Holtzman in 1972.
Interesting news of Kyrgyz v Uzbek violence breaking out in Kyrgyzstan. I confess to a dilettantish interest in the region, driven solely by mentions in my favorite work of conspiracy fiction
.Proverbs for paranoids, indeed.
I did get work done this weekend, really. As difficult as it may be for my accountant to believe, buying and playing a bunch of videogames is research. (And nowhere near as hard to justify to the IRS as that admittedly ill-advised rental of a convertible in Dallas...) I could spend another month down the rabbit hole following the trail of the creators of the Resident Evil frnanchise in search of the roots of their decision to name their fictive shadow company the Umbrella Corporation
I was noodling with teh google this week -- as I always do in my stultifying hours as an underleveraged, underappreciated microserf -- and came upon an image of Mary Poppins, drifting over the skies of London under her magic umbrella. That led me into a maze of twisty passages about Dickensian chimney sweep children and the incidence of cancer of the scrotum, as well as a scene in a 1967 Dick Van Dyke movie called "Fitzwilly" which features umbrellas deployed by the eponymous scapegrace in a climactic Christmas robbery of Gimbels department store.
But the root question seems to me to be whether Poppins is a symbol of one of the Umbrella factions. And if so, which one?