Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Not a Telemarketer!

This is a gratuitous photo of our garden taken from the dining room window. Chris is still sulking from the demise of his tomato crop, but when I look out the window, I see a view that brings me joy.

But that's not what I came here to post about. This evening I had just put Gabe to bed when the phone rang. The voice on the other end sounded like a prerecorded telemarketer. Instantly angry at the unwanted late call, I almost hung up. But before I could act, my brain parsed the words "you are on the line with congressman. . ."

Either this was a prank or the real deal, and the latter scared me out of my socks. I am tongue-tide when discussing politics, and I am practically phobic of phones. Really! After college, when I had to make follow-up calls to the places I had applied for jobs, picking up the phone made me physically ill. I very nearly hung up on the congressman for a second time.

I'm glad I didn't. It was a group call, handled much like on a call-in radio show. The moderator would introduce the person asking the question, stating the topic the caller wished to discuss. Then the caller would have the chance to ask their question, and the congressman would answer; and then on to the next caller.

This was not an opportunity to waste! I immediately started dredging my brain for a topic to bring up, but to my horror in my parsing panic I had not caught the name of the congressman who had so unexpectly included me on this communal call. I ran to the computer and pleaded with Google to enlighten me.

I needen't have worried. The congressman's name was repeated: Michael Capuano.

Google quickly informed me that Mike had a pro-environment stance, but that he also didn't have much to say about agriculture. So I tried to put together a question while listening to what he said on the topics of Darfur, Afghanistan, health care, education, and a recent climate-change bill. (He had voted for it, but found it to be at the limit of his willingness to compromise. He would rather see a straight carbon tax than a cap-and-trade solution, because cap-and-trade points will be used to buy votes.)

I'm afraid the session ended before I could get my thoughts entirely put together, but the session ended with the option to leave a message. So, short and sweet, I said, with a minimum of stammering:

"Hello congressman! I am concerned with the state of agriculture in this country, and in particular with the Monsanto monopoly. Monsanto is using the public as guinea pigs for their untested genetically modified products, and their agricultural practices are unsustainable. Thank you."

Phew! I didn't entirely waste my opportunity!


Dori said...

It's cool that your congressman does calls like that. I don't know what I would have said if mine called, I know zilch about our local politicians.

Michelle said...

I'm sure you would have thought of something, Dori! BTW, sometimes we get our politicians doing open-hours and coffee shops. I bet yours do, too.