February 29, 2012

Canvas.

Papa is a Preacher 
Proudly presents
Canvas

"Canvas. This word seems to be weighing heavily on my consciousness quite a bit these days. Since I can’t seem to clear it from my mind, I figured it probably merited exploration. Won’t you please join me in this journey of reflection?

First, there’s the metaphor of my life as a blank canvas at the moment. I’m in the process of making some major life decisions, which is both a terrifying and an invigorating experience. I did this once before, nearly a decade ago, and have no regrets. However things are a little bit different this time around. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a stay-at-home mother to four adorable and challenging young children, aged 4 and under. I’m also currently a full-time PhD candidate, a teacher, and a small business owner. The last time I pulled this type of stunt and did a180˚, I had many fewer responsibilities to consider. I’m a firm believer that, while we may choose the colours and the textures of the canvas of our life, ultimate control of the final shape the design will take is predetermined. I’m trading in my vibrant, eclectic, abstract, primary chaos for more subtle hues that I’m told blend well, and am keeping my fingers crossed that the new style suits both the canvas and the artist. Canvas.

Another blank canvas, this one not quite as daunting as the previous, yet equally intimidating. The blank word document, entitled ‘Larissa’s guest post’, that I’ve had open for more than a week but somehow never got around to writing until the last minute. I was both surprised and thrilled when Larissa asked me to write a guest post for her. I had asked a fellow blogger to guest post for my blog, without even considering that I might also be invited to post somewhere. When Larissa was kind enough to write me, at first I felt very excited. Not just at the invitation to guest blog, which admittedly made me feel like a ‘cool kid’, but also because I really admire Larissa’s writing. The girl has style. Is it me, or do the words just seem to flow from her fingertips in a simple, honest, and above all, charming manner? I tend to write about quite a bit about poop, silly things my kids do and say, etc. And in a fairly crass, irreverent manner, at that. A slightly different pace from the typically whimsical and elegant writing here at Papa is a Preacher. But here I am, regardless. Thanks for taking a chance on me, Larissa. :)

 Canvass. To end this post on a typical cdnkaro-note, we will discuss a different form of the word. My husband Ian is…a special kind of partner. One of his main pleasures in life is annoying me. It’s generally all in jest, and he’s so darn good at it that in spite of the obnoxiousness of this pursuit, I can’t help but admire his determination and genuine talent. Credit where credit is due, after all. Last month, while I was putting the children to bed one night, someone from the Heart and Stroke Foundation called our house, looking for volunteers to canvass our town for donations during the month of February. Ian thought it would be amusing to see me stuck outside in the middle of Winter, so he volunteered me. The joke was on him though, as far as I’m concerned- I would be going out right after supper, leaving him to bathe and get four young kids to bed on his own. While I got to a) socialize with adults and b) have quiet time to think without being interrupted constantly. Gee, darn. He sure got me this time!

So anyway, yesterday I happened to notice that it was February 27th,, and I hadn’t yet gone out canvassing. Oops. I spent a very long evening outside on, as it turns out, one of the only (!@#$) real wintery days so far this year. This experience canvassing for charity led me to meet some very interesting people. It also afforded me a glimpse into what canvassers have to put up with. I concluded, at the end of my evening, that there are four different ways that people will react when they see a canvasser coming up their driveway, and it’s those very scientific findings I’d like to share with you here. See? I even made a fancy pie chart. That makes them official.




Let’s address these one at a time, shall we?

First: People who pretend they don’t see you. Really, people? I’m walking up your driveway, standing at your door, and knocking, all with you looking in my direction. When I knock, no less than three of you turn your head toward the door, make eye contact, and then turn back to each other and begin talking. Do you have any idea how awkward that is for the person knocking? Ok, so I’m a canvasser. But how can you be sure? What if I was coming to tell you that there was a problem with your car or something? This reaction shocked me. I also had people shut OFF their light when they (I presume) saw me walking up their walkway. And I had one man come look out his window to see who had rung his bell, then ignore me and go sit down to watch TV. As much as I dislike solicitations for donations, I could never in a million years behave like that.

Second: People who are friendly and donate, even if it’s just a twonie. For all you non-Canadians, that’s our two dollar coin. Thank goodness these people are the majority.

Third: People who are friendly but refuse to donate. Fair enough. I’m often in this category myself. As long as you’re nice about it, everyone walks away from the experience with a positive feeling.

Fourth: People who are just plain rude. I only had a few really sour people on my route, thankfully. That I met, anyway- there are, of course, those who simply pretended I didn’t exist. Still not over that. Mostly this consisted of “No.”, followed by closing the door in my face. Only once it consisted of someone opening the door, seeing me smile and hearing me begin to say “Hi, my name is Caroline and I’m canvassing on behalf of…” and then slamming the door in my face. I’m going to chalk it up to them having a bad day, because I don’t want to believe that people are just simply that miserable.

Finally: People who are just incredibly awkward. Ok, to be honest, this one kind of amused me. At one house I went to, a middle-aged man answered his door and as soon as he saw me there with my red folder, he became all flustered and fidgety. Once I had finished my spiel, he turned me down, but in the most awkward way imaginable. This man was so awkward that he came up with an excuse, but then just kept offering more. It was sort of a train wreck of a monologue that went like this: “I’d love to, but I don’t have any money on me. We donate to the Cancer Society. We’re on a fixed income. I’m on the phone, I have to go…”, followed by the door slowly closing. Awkward, yet funny.

Thank you for having me!"

Thank You Caroline for guest posting! I, in turn will be guest posting .. .right over here ... 
 

13 Wonderful people made my day!:

  1. I love the different takes on 'canvass'. Great post! I'm surprised how people react, too. We took some cub scouts caroling one year and had several people look at us, then shut the door. Scouts for heaven's sake!

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    1. *insert random comment on the state of things today*...Back in MY day,...Oh, wait.

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  2. Thanks for inviting me to guest post! You didn't include the intro? Maybe it works better this way- like I said, style is your forte, not mine;)

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  3. Nice job picking a guest poster, Larissa. And cdnkaro, glad to have you back even at someone else's place. ;)

    I have not done anything door-to-door since trick-or-treating with the kids when they were small. That's much easier because the porch light on signal saves anyone from having to run and hide. How'd Ian fare at home? Does he have his own pie chart?

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    1. Haha oh yes, though it's titled 'the 7 hells of dealing with bedtime as a single parent' Thanks:)

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    2. She's a gem, I'm so honored to have had her here.

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    3. aww, thanks Larissa:)

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  4. Larissa, I left a gift for you on my blog :)

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    1. You are wonderful Judy!!!! Thank you!

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  5. I think I nod and smile too much when people are at the door, giving them the false sense of hope that I am interested and going to buy their encyclopedias. I do feel like giving them something, after all, they braved three crazy barking dogs just to knock on our door!

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    1. I do the same thing- it's hard being nice without appearing to lead people on :)

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  6. "I’m trading in my vibrant, eclectic, abstract, primary chaos for more subtle hues that I’m told blend well, and am keeping my fingers crossed that the new style suits both the canvas and the artist."

    Beautiful.

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