You sat at the table, fingers pounding away, elbows numb, and mind blank. Next to you is a classmate, equally bored and equally sore. Every now and then you flip a page of the packets in front of us, your eyes darting over to check on the other’s progress. It was the kind of unspoken race that only a bored college student would initiate. Soon you find myself developing techniques to dial faster (two thumbs are better than one), and as the time passed you get more competitive, allowing fewer rings before hanging up and practically running across the office to retrieve new packets.
I am speaking, of course, of that time-honored tradition: the phone bank. A venerable tenant of any political campaign, it remains a right of passage, and a source of perpetual frustration for every young campaign staffer. Some call it an exercise in futility, others a nuisance, and after dialing 20 numbers without a response, it is sometimes hard to disagree. The conversations, when somebody finally does pick up, are often brief, usually rude, and almost always unsatisfying.
But along comes the perfect call. Sweet and obliging, the recipient is a strong supporter, happy to volunteer, and certainly planning to vote for Hillary. Almost against your will you find yourself with the energy for 30 more calls. Despite your determination to hate the phone bank until the end of time, you find yourself eagerly anticipating another constructive interaction. Thus continues the game of phones, played by intrepid young volunteers, and seductively perpetuating itself for years to come.