Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pre-Packers Signatures: A Gain of 21.

After church let out, I took the route home that led by Festival Foods and democra-beeped the volunteer collecting signatures there, then parked on the street near my local Pick N Save and took up camp on the sidewalk. I had three signers right away, then a short lull. At this time, a woman in an SUV rolled down her window, thanked me, and asked me if I wanted a coffee or a hot chocolate. (There's a Starbucks in the mini-mall right behind where I was standing.) I thanked her, but I hadn't been there long enough to get cold yet. If she'd driven by an hour later, I'd have surely taken her up on her kind offer.

When my fourth seemingly mild-mannered signer joined me on the sidewalk, he was quite eager when I asked him to also sign for Kleefisch. "She used to work in my profession, and I thought she was a bitch - excuse my language - then." I've only had three signatures less for Kleefisch than I have for Walker, though not everyone knows much about her other than she's Walker's second-in-command. For many, she's just guilty by association, though those of you familiar with our LT know that she has a wide range of personal flaws, not the least of which is embracing a mindset that allows her to equate gay marriage with marrying a dog or a table. I encourage anyone who has doubts about Kleefisch to visit You Tube, search "Rebecca Kleefisch," and allow her to convince you to recall her in her own words.

I had my first person in uniform sign, though he didn't want to be seen signing in uniform so he stayed in his vehicle, and while I was collecting signatures another volunteer, Twitter's unkybunky, beeped and waved as she pulled into Walgreens across the street. A few minutes later she came back out, moved her car to street parking, and broke out her sign and clipboard. Almost immediately she had two cars waiting to sign pulled up next to the sidewalk. I talked to her briefly in the midst of things and she said that she'd gone in for a prescription but that there were eight people in line, so she decided to come out and collect signatures until after the Packer game started. That, my friends, is dedication! Not to mention a reminder that we should always show up prepared.

After three sub-seventeen signature days in a row, I was thrilled when a couple signed and put me at 18 signatures just before 2:30, but since I'd been there since around 12:30, I was starting to get a little cold. I was cold enough to strongly consider packing up when the bank clock down the road read 2:45 instead of waiting for actual kickoff, when a red car pulled up behind me, beeped, and motioned for me to come to his window. As I always do, I shook my head and motioned that he needed to come to me on the sidewalk. After he attempted several more times to get me to come to him, he exited the car and walked halfway towards me as I explained that I had to stay on public property. He was a retirement-age gentlemen, and he asked me why he should sign the petition. By now, this response is a warning flag for me that the person approaching is a Walker supporter. I gave him the standards of union-busting and restrictive voter ID laws, answered a couple of questions politely, then he told me I wasn't doing a very good job of convincing him.

At this point, I asked him directly and evenly if he was there to sign the petition or if he was just there to give me a hard time. He assured me that he wasn't there to give me a hard time, that he just wanted to know why he should sign. I told him I was only there to collect signatures from people who really wanted to sign the petition, and that if he wasn't sure I encouraged him to go home and do some research on reasons to recall Walker. I told him politely that I didn't want him to sign my petition today and that he could go to the HQ office to sign after he'd researched the issue if he felt that was the right thing to do. I hadn't noticed this, but my co-collector across the street told me afterward that his body language had gotten increasingly combative and he kept speaking more loudly, and she was wondering if she'd need to come and supply backup. After more discussion, I had to ask him again why he was there and what he hoped to accomplish. "If you're just here to give me a hard time, it's not going to make me leave or stop me from collecting signatures."

Finally the other shoe dropped, and he wasn't able to maintain what he had hoped was an illusion of open discussion, as he retorted that the company that he'd worked for had closed, and then proceeded with some union-bashing (he had made it point to argue earlier that eliminating collective bargaining wasn't union busting, which, technically true or not, is another red flag), and told me, "You people working for the state need to stop crying and get over it," as he moved back towards his car. I smiled. "Do I look like I'm crying? Also, I don't work for the state. And I'm not a teacher, either." (Well, not the kind of teacher he thinks I am, anyway, and I won't have a teaching job again until January.) His response was to say that it didn't matter, because "You're not even 25, anyway!" and slammed his car door behind him.

I know I snorted before I hollered back, "Excuse me, I'm 34!" but I'm pretty sure he didn't hear me. Not that my age matters, but for a second I had to fight down the urge to pull out my ID and run into the parking lot to tap on his window before he threw the car into reverse. It was a ridiculous way to end an argument, and it doesn't surprise me that he went for the personal shot at my age, however wrong he was. I was happy to have a woman stop to sign shortly afterward as she was racing in for pre-Packer bacon for BLTs, and then I collected what I consider to be a celebrity signature from the Woman Who Walks Everywhere, only now I know here name, too! (No, I'm not going to tell you!) One more friendly signature, and I called it a day with 21. That puts my running total for signatures at 469. Hopefully I can make up some more ground on my total before another weekend at Emerge training. I haven't a prayer of catching Bob, but that's not going to stop me from trying. He's up to 703 signatures to recall Walker. He'll be out there tomorrow, and he'll make every minute of it count, too.

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