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14 February 2013 @ 12:54 am
Today I volunteered with the Rhode Islanders United for Marriage phone banking because one of my old Rowe campers asked me to come along a few times and I realised, with a sigh, that it was the sort of thing I should do to be a Good Role Model. (He did not tell me it would be a gung-ho phone-banking event.)

Totally. Not. My. Thing.

Now, you may have picked up through this journal my inclination for volunteering. You may have even noticed that it sometimes has to do with attractive women. You may even be right.

I'm glad to know, at least, that there is a line. There was a cute gay girl there and still I was able to give a firm, "No, I won't be coming back for more phone banking, but I'll try to make it to the canvassing if my hip feels up to it." Look! It stated with a "no"! Canvassing I already know I like, so that's fine.

I hate using the stupid callfire computer program that does everything automatically, presents a person with two people it's trying to call at once (with sometimes less than 3 seconds to sound out difficult names before one is picking up), and is delayed. That with the script and the pressure to get people volunteering and giving money (hate talking money) meant that I was making precisely the sort of call that my family has always detested getting, even for causes we stand behind. I got four unpleasant/rude calls, too, with the slew of wrong-numbers or I've-moved; one woman who was once a paid employee of some other RI marriage equality group ranted about how poorly trained we were because I couldn't hear-and-understand a political name she'd given (after I mentioned it was my first time volunteering; I gave a tight "have a wonderful day" and she hang up on me). But I got 123 'dials' so I did my share.

It didn't help that it's not really one of my top causes. I'm behind gay marriage, sure, in my general quest for equality. I'm not always invested in the idea of marriage as a whole, though, and the mixing of government/religion/historical ideas of commodity. Of course in the sad stories--partners being unable to visit each other in hospital, life insurance problems, etc.--I wish there were firm gay marriage laws. Mostly, though, it's not one of the things that is top on my mind and priorities. One of the things in the 'script' was to ask why same-sex marriage was important to the person we had called and of course we were supposed to be all friendly and relate, so I heard a lot of my fellow phone-bankers saying things like, "Yes, I'm gay, too, and I want to marry the person I love some day."

I mostly sat there thinking, "I'm gay and I hardly give a rat's arse for myself, but I'd love to see those who want to get married getting married regardless of sex and gender." But of course that doesn't quite sell the ticket as strongly. :P (And I'm not completely against the idea of my marrying, either, although for me the marriage would be about the benefits and any kind of commitment ceremony would be quite different; I'd want a line between the two.)

I told them I'd be interested in data entry if they wanted the help some time, plus the canvassing if I can make it. I do still want to help, of course, but with my preferred skill set and without making myself miserable. :D

Now it's Valentine's Day. I did have a committee meeting, but it was cancelled. I'm going to head off for a bit of at-home volunteer work for my congregation and enjoy some sleep. I wonder if I'll leave the house tomorrow; I could go couple-counting...

Can't switch back to old posting format any more and my icon randomiser doesn't show me what it randomises to until I post. I have a sad.

[Crossposted from dreamwidth.]
Current Mood: Exhausted.
Shivshiv5468 on February 14th, 2013 07:20 am (UTC)
That all sounds rather horrid. Especially having to volunteer information about yourself.
Kiwi Crocus: Seasonal || Doggy hat.cranky__crocus on February 14th, 2013 07:39 am (UTC)
I didn't have to volunteer much, of course--and I didn't, not that I really got the chance to anyway with my bad luck on the dialling front--but yes, that wasn't my favourite part. The fact that it's all intentionally built into the script (where to interact personally and how) makes it all seem so manipulative. On the volunteer side, I understand: there have been studies done and professionals have stumbled across what works best, blah blah yadda yadda. On the side of someone who gets these calls, I tend to know exactly what they're going for and it makes me resent it all the more, the fact that I feel there is a direct attempt to manipulate me.

Probably best that I don't run these sorts of things. I'd be the frakker throwing a wrench in the system with calls like, "Marriage equality: we think it's awesome. Do you think it's awesome? Fantastic. Would you actually and actively be willing to volunteer with us some time? Fantastic! How does Monday at 6 sound? No? Tuesday at 6? Brilliant. Do you have any extra money you could throw at us since you can probably tell we're not-for-profit and broke and need to keep the lights on? You have 3.50? Excellent! It's not 75 bucks, but who the f--- has that lying around, anyway? Thanks for giving me a moment! Enjoy Valentine's Day, Singles' Awareness Day or Anna Howard Shaw Day, depending on your opinion of commercialised reinforcement and exploitation of gender stereotypes!"

Yup. Honestly, best to put me on the data entry in the end.

Edited at 2013-02-14 07:40 am (UTC)
Shivshiv5468 on February 14th, 2013 08:26 am (UTC)
Nod nods, I suspect most people feel like that, so I don't believe it works. You try that on me, I put the phone down. You try to be my friend selling me something in the shop, I've been known to walk away.

A coputer salesman tried to bond with me over my pretty name when I was asking about the chipset under the hood. I left. Because I wanted to know about the chipset.
(Deleted comment)
Kiwi Crocus: Seasonal || Bah humbug.cranky__crocus on February 14th, 2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, I find it quite invasive. If that's what it takes to win marriage and elections, fine, but other people can do it; I'm out. I'll do what can without feeling like I'm invading people's space--hosting an event, maybe, for fundraising and raising awareness and writing letters to legislators and whatever else. That way the people who come signed up to come, and if they have a good time, next time they can bring their friends and family or bring stuff away from the event to have their loved ones do!

The 'role model' comment was a bit of a joke, I'll admit, but I also had no idea I was signing on to phone-bank; my old camper didn't really describe what I'd be doing, he was just very passionate about it and thought I would be too. Plus I'm still fairly new to the city (in that I haven't gone out much with the weather) and meeting some people passionate about same-sex marriage seemed like a good idea. I don't regret going in that it was a learning experience, but I solidly learned my lesson and feel no need to do it again!
CaroRulescarorules on February 14th, 2013 05:19 pm (UTC)
Good for you saying no for next time!
Kiwi Crocus: Women || Water nyph.cranky__crocus on February 14th, 2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
Yes indeed! It's not something I'm usually good at; this time it came all too easy. :P
?elsceetaria on February 14th, 2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
::Big hugs:: That sounds terrible.
Kiwi Crocus: Lips || Luscious.cranky__crocus on February 14th, 2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
Ahahah. The actual phone-banking certainly wasn't enjoyable, but I had quite a bit of fun just joking around with the people on the crew before, after, and occasionally during.
?elsceetaria on February 14th, 2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
That's good at least. :)