I had fallen asleep after a succession of early morning meetings and final deadlines. I heard the back door open and shut then with well-honed mother-intution thought to myself, “Ah, my son is home from school.” Another clue, our dog didn’t bark, in fact, I doubt that he even moved.
About 20 minutes later I stumbled downstairs and at my kitchen table there was a young girl busy scrolling through her iPhone. Our campaign had begun in earnest at the beginning of September. Having gone through a few elections, I was almost used to strangers being in my house during election times at odd hours of the day and night. But still, it struck me a bit odd that a) I didn’t recognized the woman sitting here in the dark and, b) she didn’t seemed to be at all alarmed that she was there.
Part of a political spouse’s role is to greet volunteers and make everyone feel welcome. It’s not a difficult task considering these wonderful people appear in all kinds of weather and political conditions with the sole purpose of helping my husband retain his job. And it’s not unusual that I wouldn’t know everyone. Some are friends and neighbours but many are people connected in some way to my husband’s life. So I warmly said, “Hello”, and offered the girl some tea.
No, she didn’t need any tea, but thanked my profusely, then went back to work on her iPhone.
Half way back upstairs I did a double take, and turned back.
“Are you waiting for someone?” I ventured.
“Yes,” she replied. “I’m canvassing this afternoon so I was told to meet the others here at 3.”
I checked my watch and it was closing in on 4 o’clock. There were no “others”.
“Here?” I replied, then more cautiously, “Or, perhaps at our campaign office?”
“OMG!” she exclaimed, “You have a campaign office?”
I swear she turned white on the spot. Details get missed during campaigns—it’s part of the frustration and also part of the charm. In this case, no one had told the poor girl that we actually now had an office that wasn’t my kitchen (plus living room plus dining room). She jumped to her feet and began an immediate scramble to gather her things and hightail it out of my house. I stopped her, of course, in time to put her tea in a thermos and get my keys so I can drive her to our office.
On election night at our victory party I recognized her once again. This time she was smiling and laughing, the iPhone aside and surrounded by her friends. I walked over and gave her a big hug. We said nothing of her brief stay in my kitchen but she gave me an extra wink as I walked away and commented, “You are the most trusting person I’ve ever met,” she said, “And thank you for the tea!”