I had been planning to volunteer to canvass for (insert candidate/party here!) in the days running up to Election Day. I wanted to help enlighten people to the importance of the midterm vote, as part of my desire to be more of a leader in my local North Hills community.
Then, life happened, as they say.
The final weekend before the election is supposed to be the most important time to reach out to prospective voters, but my media relations job with Robert Morris University — the men’s hockey team in particular — means that most weekends in the fall and winter are made of workdays.
That was the case this weekend, with RMU hosting Niagara in a Friday-Saturday home series. And then Sunday was a big tandem family celebration for your birthday and your Grandma Gajtka’s birthday. I didn’t get much family time last week, and that comes first on my priority list.
So … Monday? Sorry, but I had work to do to start preparations for our big series against Penn State this upcoming weekend, and then you had your (likely final) appointment with your developmental therapist in the afternoon.
Is Election Day itself too late? Turns out, it’s not! There was a spot open on the canvass trail Tuesday afternoon, as luck would have it.
But there was another obstacle: Your Mom flew to Florida in the morning for a work convention, so I only had a 9-to-5 window to take care of business while you were at day care. My only hope was that I’d get done with work in enough time to jump on a 2-5 p.m. canvass shift before picking you up.
Spoiler: It didn’t happen. At about 12:30, it was obvious I wouldn’t get done what I needed to get done anywhere close to 2 p.m. So, I sheepishly cancelled via the (insert candidate) website around 1. Late? Yes, but better late than never.
Still, once 4 p.m. rolled around and I could come up for air, I didn’t feel right about it. I flaked, even for good reason. Maybe a text to my canvass contact would help?
I didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes for a response.
No worries! And an exclamation point! Maybe I’m not a terrible person.
What’s the lesson from all this? (Besides that I’m liable to over-analyze a text-message exchange.) Is it better to have good intentions and fall short than to never even entertain the thought of helping?
I’d like to say yes, but quite honestly I’m not sure. The end result was the same: I stayed on the sidelines of the democratic process. Fine, I voted, but to me that’s the bare minimum for an American citizen. It took me five minutes to hit a few buttons and get on with my day.
I suppose what matters is what happens next. Will I take this as a temporary setback and still press forward into getting more involved in local governance? Or will I see it as my destiny to be a voter and nothing more? Especially considering the circumstances of my cancelled commitment, I’d like to think it’s the former.
Then again, I’m an optimist.
Bottom line: I can’t help make others’ lives better without being a good father first. That meant sacrificing any grander get-out-the-vote ambitions on Election Day 2018. I wouldn’t quite say I have ‘no worries’ about the matter, but I have a hard time saying I wasted the day.
Calories burned (active): 746
Minutes exercised: 47
Hours stood: 14
Steps taken: 9,483
Physical activity: Uh, walking to my polling place? It was about 3/4 of a mile.
Hours spent shirtless: None. Missed opportunity while vegging out watching Election Day returns.