Winter Campaign

The state of affairs having displeased me, I drove up to New Hampshire on Sundays to volunteer for one of the candidates. This was my most substantive engagement with a presidential campaign since reading What It Takes.

On my first afternoon, I walked in and introduced myself to another volunteer. Amiable guy, and we talked for a bit. Then an organizer put me to work writing postcards. I was bashing them out when I overheard him say to the volunteer, “Anyway, that’s crazy about you and First Reformed.” I curiously looked up, for I’d seen this movie only recently. The organizer said, “Yeah, this guy was in it!” And I instantly recognized the actor. He told me Paul Schrader filmed it in two-and-a-half days, and that all the church scenes were filmed in one morning.

On a later visit I got chatting with another volunteer. He was a retired airline pilot, and mentioned that he’d flown tankers in Vietnam. I told him my old man worked on the tanker line at Boeing in the 1950s. He said he was sure he’d flown some my dad built, because some of the ones he flew were “pretty damn old.” He also told me he flew the last tanker out of Vietnam.

I mentioned to a friend from NH that I was volunteering, and he said, “Oh, we just love people from Massachusetts coming up and telling us how to vote.” I replied I’d be a humble [colloquial term for Commonwealth resident] and pause frequently to ask if I were using too many multi-syllabic words.

I have lots more stories, but will close instead with this observation. It all reminded me a bit of my week of jury duty, when I came away impressed by the process and the seriousness and skill with which people carried out their duties, yet marveled at the disruption to dozens of lives caused by one theft. This time round I kept thinking: Seriously? This is what people go through every four years? Because it’s kind of bonkers.