Wednesday, July 09, 2008

hi, you don’t know me, but would you like to talk about gay rights while you’re in the middle of dinner?

1. i hate the phone

When I was 14, the woman who taught the only singing class I ever took (with largely unsuccessful results) offered me a work-study position at the performing arts center she ran. I sucked at singing, but I was all about free dance classes.

“Just call me if you decide you’re interested, and we can figure out a schedule for you.”

Friendly and generous, right? Lisa was a friendly and generous person. Nevertheless, I must have practiced making that phone call—hand in Y shape to my ear, parents taking turns playing the part of Lisa—50 times.

All of which is to say, I’m not a phone person.

But I am a bit of a masochist, so of course I signed up to phone bank with Equality for All last night. Our job was to call a list of people who had already expressed interest in volunteering and ask them to commit to a date or donate money. (Yes, volunteering to recruit volunteers sounds a little circular, but there’s a whole strategy to these sorts of things, which I leave to the professionals.)

So it’s not like we were making cold calls trying to convince people that God does not, in fact, hate fags, although I suppose the time will come for that.

Still, I had to take numerous deep breaths before each call, because the only thing I hate more than making phone calls is asking people for things, especially if they’re nice people. I have to work myself up to asking AK to do the dishes, which I would not have to do if she ever said anything less than, “Sure, no problem.”

All my phone calls went quite nicely. People either weren’t home or they signed up to volunteer or they said they were going out of town but to call them in a couple of weeks. Even if they were lying, they let me down easy. Other volunteers got hung up on mid-call or yelled at for mispronouncing the name “Stan.” How do you mispronounce “Stan”? I’m not sure, but apparently someone did.

Still, by 9:30, every cell inside my body seemed to be leaning against a tiny wall and slumping to the floor. Do not sign up to phone bank again, I told myself. This is NOT YOUR THING. Donate money or stuff envelopes or scrub the floors of the task force office with a toothbrush, but do not phone bank.

Not signing up for things when I am directly asked to do so by nice people is another thing I’m bad at.

But I successfully resisted! (Okay, so maybe I agreed to work at a table at All Saints. But I’m pretty good when there’s a nice solid formica object between me and the person who comes up to me. Then I am the pursued rather than the desperate one.)

2. i also hate asking people for stuff, but now i’m going to ask you for stuff, so get ready

I also had this notion that maybe I could recruit some people via the blog (I know, I know—if people don’t have a problem saying no to my face and voice, they really won’t have a problem ignoring a blog entry that is basically an anti-sell anyway. This is why I don’t work in marketing).

But maybe you are a phone person. Or maybe you have wads of extra cash lying around. Maybe you just like free pizza and muffins (there’s free pizza and muffins!). Hopefully you at least believe that it’s important to defeat the people who want to defeat same-sex marriage, because solving this is not like solving world hunger—it’s easy, and it doesn’t hurt anyone or cost any money. Except, like, the money you should donate to defeating Prop. 8—but it wouldn’t cost any money to implement same-sex marriage if certain people didn’t get their panties in a bunch about it.

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, go to http://www.equalityforall.com/ and click on “Volunteer” and/or “Donate.” Or, if you want to know about additional, specific volunteer opportunities in the L.A. area, email me at meadowbat[at]yahoo.com. I’ll be happy to email you all about it. I just might not call you.

3 comments:

Peter Varvel said...

"In the 80's . . ." I went to Gay Night at the Skate Ranch roller rink in O.C. The music was so loud, that after a guy introduced himself, I replied, "Your name is 'SPAM?!'" before I could bite my tongue, and right after I realized he must've said 'Stan.'
Oh, and that Beverly Cleary book for teen girls, "Fifteen" - I don't know why, but I always saw the character's name of Stan as 'Satan,' even though he wasn't evil . . . just one letter away.

Cheryl said...

Well there you go--I guess one can mispronounce "Stan."

I've mispronounced a lot of names in my head when I've seen them written first in books. When I finally heard "Daphne" and "Cloe" in the real world, I was shocked.

Ms. Q said...

Thank you for doing that!!
:)

http://noonprop8.com/events/

Here's the link for the new page which has information about specific opportunities to volunteer for phonebanking OR in-person recruiting...I like "BINGO RECRUITING"
~ Amy