A Campaign of Fear

I hinted at this story during the 100 Questions posts but it is finally time to commit it to writing. I still laugh at the memory but the laughter comes much later. First, there will be tiredness and then there will be fear. There will be more fear than I have ever felt in a single moment in all of my life. And now, the infamous dog story from a few summers ago.

In 2010, it was suggested that I work on a political campaign in order to readjust to Baltimore and to work toward getting my first office job. It was a good transition from my work in theater although I spent a lot of time out of the office. I spent the summer out in the heat putting up a lot of four foot by eight foot political signs and getting griped at by people who did not like those signs which is pretty much everybody. I also spent a lot of time knocking on doors to deliver the good word on our candidate. This was something that people tended to like even less than the political signs but it was all necessary in order to get name recognition locked in. A lot of people who vote in local elections do so in a pretty uninformed state and they will often vote for the name they recognize if they are not just voting alphabetically.

On the day in question, we had been dispatched to the Randallstown area to knock on doors in a massive event. We were working with a couple other sympathetic campaigns in early fall for a huge push for everybody involved. It was incredibly hot and it was a Saturday but I was committed to doing the best job that I knew how to do. After a quick meeting to split up territories, I jumped into a car with two people I had worked with all summer. We were a pretty well-oiled machine at that point and we were able to hit a lot of doors in a pretty short amount of time.

The thing you should know about knocking on doors for a political campaign is that it is shocking when you actually get to talk to somebody. We knocked on a lot of doors and we had all the talking points prepared should we get a hold of an interested party. Most doors I knocked on there was never an answer because either people were not home or they saw me in my t-shirt at their door and did not get up. I do not blame them if that is what happened because I also do not like being bothered at home. I did speak to maybe a handful of pleasant people who did want to discuss politics. Most people politely declined or cursed me out and although the latter drove me crazy, I took it in stride well enough.

So the three of us walked the streets near Randallstown and started knocking on our assigned doors. I do not remember talking to a single person that day. Even the people who curse at you are sometimes welcome to break the monotony and to have a good story for later. Good stories are how you make it through long days in the trenches and there are so many long days in those trenches. We were making good time and without any further commands, it looked like we were going to have a day where we would get home at a reasonable time. I was already hot and covered in sweat but short rides in the air conditioning kept giving me the will to continue. I do not do well in the heat but I had kind of gotten used to it over the summer.

We arrived on a little cul de sac and it was like every other cul de sac I had seen in Baltimore County. It was not unlike the houses in Dundalk, Essex and areas of Towson. We started to knock on doors as usual. I took one-third of the houses just like my two companions. The place was a ghost town on a beautiful Saturday afternoon as I had expected. So I knocked, waited a minute and then dropped some literature and moved on. I walked up to a particular house and looked at the big open window to the right of the door. I rang the doorbell and waited. Suddenly, the window to my right exploded outwards as a huge dog burst through it. It was barking like a furry missile but I was already gone. My body had taken over and I was halfway down the street in a full run and screaming my lungs out.

Obviously, my companions came running toward me because no ordinary person runs screaming down the street even in Baltimore City. They saw before I did that the dog had neglected to follow me that far. Thankfully, for whatever reason, he or she had decided that I was not worth chasing. I bent over and sucked in deep breaths of air to keep from passing out. As I stood up again, I started to laugh as hard as I have ever laughed because I was so happy to be alive and unharmed. My companions looked at me like I was crazy until I was able to stop laughing enough to explain what happened. We decided to skip the rest of that little cul de sac just in case that dog was loose and angry. On our way out, we warned a Salvation Army truck driver and he nodded in thanks. We all laughed about that for the rest of the day and six years later we still haven’t forgotten it.

(Happy July 4th!)

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