Thursday, September 1, 2011

Political Activism with Purpose

Sept 1

Stream of consciousness writing on first day trying to get signatures for the petition to get gay marriage on the state of Maine ballot. Very exciting an meaningful for me, not because I'm gay but I'm a member of other minorities an I sympathize with this issue very much.

As a person with AS, my opportunities for socializing are limited. Being a rather social person at times, though, I welcome the opportunity to interact with other people in ways that feel safe to me. This is a very structured situation with a definite script, so it makes it far more easy than, say, small talk or friendship with any one of these people would have been. I probably talked to more women my age than all the years since college combined today. Usually I go out of my way to avoid them, today I made a beeline for them, they were the only ones who I had a chance of getting to sign, lol. But they were all friendly, so. Having a clipboard does gives you a certain sense of authority and comfort.

Met R at 2, he got someone to sign on his first try, I had 5 or 6 refusals before he showed up, lol. He's a very outgoing person so it was very fun to do this with him (get signatures to put gay marriage on ballot). Monument Sq. we got a few ppl, tommys park by exchange we got the most. Commercial st, all tourists. Biggest lesson in demographics, really only the young ppl were worth asking for the most part, altho R was better than I at getting some older ppl to sign. Most of the older ppl just didnt want to be bothered with a petition, no matter what it was for. Wasn't a single young person (who stopped) an then refused. we were pretty good at figuring out who to ask so our acceptance rate so to speak was pretty high but sometimes took some time to spot that next person who seemed worth asking. (Of course, we did ask older ppl too, they just usually said no).

Interesting moments... when R tried to ask the guy in a lobster costume/mascot on commercial st to sign, I was like "you cant ask him!" then the lobster guy took off his head to tell us he'd already signed, lol.

The guy playing Blackbird by the Beatles on guitar on exchange - love that song.

The woman leaning against the wall on exchange who we asked, and then I realize she was having a hard time writing. thought it was just cus it was an awkward position to write at first, then realized it was something more. her whole body was moving and shaking an she was struggling to write anything at all. I didnt say anything, just held the clipboard down for her, figure maybe its cerebral palsy. then she told us "I have Parkinsons" so that made sense.

It took her a very long time to do it but she managed to sign, an I was impressed by her conviction, courage and dignity. Not to mention persistance! The writing wasnt very ledgible but just ledgible enough, she was worried. "Will it count?" she asked several times. I assured her it would.

Most people were very friendly, an almost every single person who signed thanked me/us for doing this an wished us good luck very sincerely. Ran into one other person also collecting signatures, one person who worked for Equality Maine currently, an one person who used to.

There was a lot of people who had already signed, which is good, and also a lot of people who said they'd love to sign but weren't registered to vote.

Oh, the middle aged guys who always hang out at the hot dog stand by Exchange - 2 of them signed, to our surprise, but it might have been because I knew one of them and he said to them he'd already signed. Still. It was good.

Only 3 ppl out of like 40 responded negatively. They were all after R left, so that might have had something to do with it, lol. It was all fine though.

10 different towns, 10 from Portland, the rest from others. 13 women, 7 men. Going back again next week as long as weather is good! Prob. Wed for farmers mkt.

One thing's for sure, it sure made me love my city. Portland is so beautiful. Been a while since I walked all the way from the ferry terminal up to the Eastland.

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