Sunday, October 30, 2005

Day One: I saw a sumo wrestler

I don't watch television a whole lot. In fact, the occasion that I turn on a television is so rare that I'd say I'm more likely to be struck by lightning or to be attacked by a shark than I am to be caught watching Desperate Housewives (that analogy really isn't fair, because I mean, even if I did watch television you can be assured that I still wouldn't be caught watching Desperate Housewives).

Regardless, I was enthralled today as I was absolutely surrounded by televisions channeling into satellite stations. Fox News and the Weather channel blared around me from every angle. I wasn't sure why it was necessary to have 8 different televisions on the bus, but we did.
The campaign is taking a 10 day bus tour (starting this morning and ending at the Westin in Princeton on Election Day - November 8th) and I'm on the bus every single day managing all sorts of menial tasks such as holding purses, finding lids for styrofoam coffee cups, and purchasing any kind of confection that I can find for the candidate's 19 year-old daughter. She consumes more sugar than anyone I've ever met in my life - it's really quite impressive... I get paid for this, by the way.

We had Fox News on mute (the best way to have it) and I stared as one ridiculous advertisement after the other flashed across the screen.
Did everyone know that they've revived the "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!" advertisements for LifeAlert?! I had no idea. Maybe they never really fell out of circulation, but I just saw it for the first time in many many years. It was silenced, but I laughed. I laughed a lot actually. I laughed at the advertisement for the gospel singer who apparently hasn't had her photograph taken since 1976. I laughed at a commercial for the no-name brand electric razor that came with a free gift (a special napkin dispenser [?], if you order now). I even laughed at Fox's mini headlines running along the bottom of the screen. When we first got on the bus in the morning, one of them read: "Iranian President makes statement: 'Israel should be wiped off map.'" Then, just four or five hours later, I saw the headline had changed to: "Iran retracts earlier statement that Israel should be wiped off map."
That was the highlight of my day I think, actually.

I ate a lot of food today.
I consumed a lot of sugar too.
I had Cracker Barrel's magnificent macaroni and cheese. bliss.

We traveled to a Rutgers football game where I saw a guy (convincingly) dressed as Napoleon Dynamite.
We visited three diners and interrupted several people's meals with greetings from Doug and Andrea.
We participated in a Halloween parade that was actually pretty damn fantastic.
I came to a crazy realization today. It was almost monumental: people really do like Doug. And for every person that likes Doug, there are three that LOVE Andrea. Her commercial (the one that I still haven't even seen but continue to tell her how great it is) is probably the best thing that ever happened to this campaign. Brava, Andrea.

I saw JM2 in Medford at the parade hurling candy at small children. I think only one of them walked away with a concussion. He said he wasn't in costume, but he was wearing an aviator jacket with the American Flag printed on it, blue sweatpants left over from 1989, and Andrew McCarthy's hair.

He continues to amaze me. He took the bar again this summer. I'm not sure if he passed it or not this time though. My guess is... well, you know.

I've discovered that this bunch is actually funny. I mean, they've cracked a few jokes here and there before, but spending all day with them today, cooped up in a bus, I found that they really are funny people. They were a lot more relaxed than I've ever seen them. Berkeley actually has a sense of humor, and apparently is a ladies' man. Rumor has it that he picked up one of the waitresses at the Cracker Barrell. I think it was a really good decision.

I got kicked out of Lowes for "soliciting". So I ripped the campaign sticker off my chest and kept on talking. The manager wasn't too happy.
"Ma'm, you cannot solicit here at the store with any political party or candidate!"
"My candidate left - he's down at BJ's... I'm just having a conversation here."
"If you're speaking on behalf of your candidate, then that still counts."
"Oh.... well, then thank goodness I'm not!"

She left me alone after that, but I thought it best that I just leave. That's when I went to go find lids for the coffee cups and to order a turkey sandwich for Andrea... I get paid for all this, by the way.

There were roughly 35,000 people at the halloween parade in Medford. All the kids were in costumes and were like little vultures over the candy being thrown their way. I've never seen anything like it. I saw a sumu wrestler, a 300 lb. man dressed as a beauty queen, and an elf riding on a snowman's shoulders (which, amazingly, was one costume). Doug was well received.

There's this red-headed guy, Pete, who works for Corzine but his sole job is to follow Doug around to every single event he attends and write down/record/videotape everything that Doug says. We joke around with him, chat with him, ask him how his day is going, sort of look out for him... there's this funny scenario though that I keep imagining in which Pete, after working at this job for several months, finally finds himself one day at an event where Doug is speaking, nodding his head in agreement: "yeah! this guy's right!" and then totally converting to the other side. It's just a funny thought.
Every once in awhile, we try to battle Pete. We'll shut the doors on him, or tell him that a certain event doesn't allow video. We do it because we can even though it doesn't really matter.
He always has the same sorts of responses to little jests that we regularly make.
"Hey Pete, why are you still recording Doug everywhere he goes? Isn't it too late for that anyway?"
His response, "It's never too late."

"Hey Pete, how's it going today? You haven't gotten beat up yet, eh?"
His response: "It's still early."

Nine more days, folks. Just nine.
I've decided, for unknown reasons, to post Doug's schedule through election day on my calendar here. I just really want to use the calendar, more than anything.

I'm bringing my iPod with me tomorrow.
And a change of clothing.

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