Around Town

Opinion: When you really believe in something, you brave the heat and spend a day knocking on strangers’ doors

Hello! My name is Elder Jo. And I would like to share with you the most amazing card.

No, this isn’t a reimagining of “The Book of Mormon,” although I was wearing a white shirt a la Elder Cunningham. I spent last Saturday afternoon going door-to-door, asking people to sign postcards calling for the full repeal of House Bill 2.  

Ready to canvas for equality!

A photo posted by @lookitsjoanne on Jun 4, 2016 at 7:27am PDT

My girlfriend Lara and I, four volunteers, two babies, and one official field organizer swarmed into Republican N.C. Rep. Rob Bryan’s district, which mostly follows Park Road and stretches from the edge of uptown to I-485. Bryan voted for HB2 during the special session of the North Carolina Assembly on March 23.

Did his vote reflect the desire of his constituents? That’s why I asked people to sign postcards. Bryan’s views versus those of his constituents were like my armpits after canvassing in the heat for three hours: They didn’t pass the smell test.

Cover Photo – C5 Canvassing Article

Here’s my hour-by-hour recap of the experience, complete with a special heat index.

10:00 a.m. Had meeting at Duck Donuts. Lara and I were told to split each side of the neighborhood. Nope, I thought. I’m going to be Lara’s Secret Service Agent, or at least her Secret Sweaty Agent.

Heat Index: A slightly-damp-but-my-deodorant-can-handle-it stroll in Central Park.


10:30 a.m. Knocked on our first door. Betty*, with the sequined gold scrunchie, answered. (Not to be confused with “Becky with the good hair.”) Her modest home was sandwiched between two houses valued at a million dollars. One that was actually for sale. “Save your money,” she said.

Peep her bow shoe planter.


Heat Index: A brisk 20 minutes on the treadmill while looking at Javier Bardem in Us Weekly.

10:40 a.m.:  Visited said million dollar home for sale. Set off first of many dogs by ringing the doorbell. Learned why Betty wanted us to be her new neighbors: The man who answered the glass front door didn’t want us to think he was hiding from us, so instead he answered the door to tell us he was hiding from us. I guess that’s how people who can afford million dollar homes think.

Heat Index: Richard Simmons’ induced jazz arms with leg lifts and you can’t stop doing because he keeps yelling, “You fed it, now you lift it!”

11:00 a.m. The 10 minutes Twain walked in and out my life.

Dog 1 – C5 Canvassing

First glance.

Dog 2 – C5 Canvassing

First sniff.

Dog 3 – C5 Canvassing

First contact.

Dog 4 – C5 Canvassing

“Is this love or do your shorts smell like warm strawberry frosting?”

Heat Index: Burpees in a sauna.

11:15 a.m. Me complaining about the heat. Me getting a startling surprise from man’s best friend instead of Twain’s simple love.

Me complaining about canvassing, then getting a startling surprise. @laraamerico

A video posted by @lookitsjoanne on Jun 4, 2016 at 9:23am PDT

Heat index: Struggling in a 90-minute hot yoga class in the back without an air conditioning vent.

11:30 a.m.

Lara: “You’re not doing your job.”

Me: “Why?”

Lara: (gesturing towards my underarm) “You’re getting the postcards all moist.”



Heat Index: Dousing yourself in your own warm spit from the bottom of your water bottle.

11:35 a.m. Met a Republican against HB2 who invited us to his backyard pool so his neighbors could sign the cards as well. Felt like I was gazing upon a sparkling, cool mirage – see, even some Republicans don’t like HB2! Oh, the pool was nice too.

Second bow shoe planter sighting. 


11:45 a.m. Saw first of three chipmunks. Told Lara in a soft, wilting voice, “It makes a lake out of its own tears; it’s that tiny.”

12:15 p.m. Drove to Veteran’s Park for the Stonewall Kickball drag-themed game. The players were caked in rouge and lipstick while donning wigs from blonde to Rainbow Bright. At least someone was feeling the sweat harder than me.

At least they signed my postcards while their faces dripped into their shoes.

Last Photo – C5 Canvassing Article

Heat Index: Alternating between eating lasagna and doing sit-ups in the sun.

Result: Everyone we met – except for those that didn’t answer the door, which was rare – hated HB2 and were stunned to learn their legislator voted for it. I’m going to send a vial of my dog slobber-tinged sweat to Bryan.

*Name changed to protect innocent bow shoe planter owners.

Photos: Joanne Spataro