I suppose that, with more than 300 million citizens, odds are that there are quite a few Americans living their daily lives in some form of alternate reality. I encountered such a person on Saturday as I was canvassing a neighborhood for the Obama/Biden campaign. It was a nice-enough home on a tree lined cul-de-sac on the outskirts of Toledo.
The cold rain had mitigated some and the address was the very last house on my list of 40 addresses. Surprisingly as I stopped my car in from of the address, a woman of about 50 was coming out of the front door. She was near the driveway by the time I closed my door and I shouted, “I’m looking for [name].” She identified herself as the person on my list- a person thought to be an Obama supporter who I was supposed to persuade to vote early. Those are usually easy addresses.
“I understand that you are supporting the President in the upcoming election,” I said, mindlessly, expecting a quick. ‘Yes.’ Rather, she said, “Why do you say that?” Hmm, I thought, as I glanced down on my wet clipboard to see if I misidentified her. No, the soggy sheet ID’s her as an early vote person.
Before I could say, “Because it says early vote right next to your name, for crying out loud!” she asked, “Why is he qualified to be President?”
Oh lord, a birther! WTF? There must have been some screw-up on the walk-sheet and this person should have been ID’s as a persuade, rather than an early vote. “What program did they take to qualify for running for public office? They must have had to take some classes,” she stated. My mind rushed to Joe the Plumber, but before I could get my lips apart, she went on with a litany of reasons that those running for office must have had some sort of training for the position.
A drop of water rolled down my baseball cap onto my clipboard. I was tired, cold, wet and hadn’t eaten since 7 AM and I was listening to a lecture in political science 101 class. I inched backwards down the driveway, but she matched every movement. I managed to quickly chirp a line about political science classes in college while she took a short breath.
Surely she was a member of the Tea Party, I thought, or an escapee from the mental ward of the county hospital. But then, I repeat myself.
Suddenly she shifted: “I lost $4 million dollars,” she said, pointing back at her house, “my husband embezzled it from me!”
Well now, what does one say after that?
I wondered why she turned to point at the house; the house was not nearly worth that much. Or, was her husband in the house? Perhaps his body still warm after a recent stabbing? I discretely checked her shirt for blood stains.
The angst of a holding a conversation with a possible murderer heightened when she pivoted away from the missing money to a screed on guns, bombs and violence. Gulp. I moved several steps further down the driveway, but she mirrored my movement.
Luckily the monologue again abruptly changed. “This is a nation based on values and church; this is a Chr…” She caught herself and did not finish the name of the religion, but pointed diagonally across the street to a manicured landscape. “Those people have an open Koran in their vestibule when you walk in.”
I saw my opening and took it. “There is nothing in our Constitution about this being a Christian nation!” I exclaimed. Quickly followed by, “I have got to go.” Luckily this time she didn’t mimic my movement towards my car. She was still talking as I shut [and locked] my door, my fingers fumbling for the keys.
What the hell was that all about?
I circled her name on my walk-list and wrote, “This woman is nuts! Do NOT attempt further contact!”