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The Adventures of Steve


Thursday, January 8, 2004

After two days of train travel, the floor is still moving. Where I am now, however, the room is spinning.

I'm here in the Dean For America Iowa Storm Center, where they're preparing for some 5,000 volunteers to arrive in the next few days and the joint is jumpin'. We're in an abandoned office building on the run down outskirts of downtown Des Moines (just a block from the John Kerry headquarters by the way).

I'm sitting in the bag room right now, squeezed between suitcases and coats, with giant cardboard boxes of hats and buttons and stickers blocking the window to the hallway. I thought I'd duck away for a bit, try to get the vertigo to calm down for a while, before throwing myself into the phone bank.

I'm certainly getting used to Amtrak travel, and I would have to say that I enjoyed seeing some new country, like southern Utah and the foothills of the Rockies. Today we passed through Nebraska and Iowa, and I took so many photographs of snow-laden villages nestled in the hills that I could make a picture calendar of them.

The five-hour delay due to the Amtrak ruined my plans to connect with the Jefferson Stage Line bus that I was planning on taking from Osceola to Des Moines. Luckily, I found Harold, a traveler from Rochester, Minnesota, who was getting off at the same place and he was more than willing to give me a lift to Des Moines. Then a six-block walk, and here I am.

I probably could use some more sleep right now, but it's just way too exciting here to sleep, never mind being able to concentrate on writing this. There's cell phone conversations going on all around me (they have a barrel of such devices for the campaign), there's rooms where the floor is covered with stacks of precinct walking maps, there's training rooms with people practicing their canvassing speeches, there's someone singing somewhere.

David, the guy in the next room, is from Tennessee (and sounds like it) and he's getting frustrated with all the "nos" he's getting from the people he's calling. So I just piped up with the standard Comic News sales cheerleading speech, about how it takes twenty-nine "nos" to get the "yes." So he's back at it, trying to rack up all the "nos" he needs to get his "yes."

Yes, I think I'm in the right place, at the right time. Time to hit the phone bank.


All of the Adventures of Steve

   Episode 1: In which Steve leaves Eugene and arrives in Rancho Cordova.
   Episode 2: In which Steve visits the Jelly Belly factory and gets a haircut.
   Episode 3: In which Steve gets a cold, a big box, and a seat on a train.
   Episode 4: In which Steve receives shiny new toys and loyal old friends.
   Episode 5: In which Steve departs for Iowa and rants a bit about why.
   Episode 6: In which Steve takes a trip to Des Moines.
   Episode 7: In which Steve gets really involved.
   Episode 8: In which Steve starts hobnobbing but is haunted by Arne Baker.
   Episode 9: In which Steve becomes a groupie and is informed that we all have love in our hearts.
   Episode 10: In which Steve becomes a media whore.
   Episode 11: In which Steve takes on Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine and Michigan.
   Episode 12: In which Steve is pitted against Fort Dodge, Iowa and seven vans of unruly Texans.
   Episode 13: In which Steve learns that all his hard work wasn't enough to put the candidate back together again.
   Episode 14: In which Steve does nothing.
   Episode 15: In which Steve reaches a decision and attempts to get virtually hired.
   Episode 16: In which we thank the good doctor for all he did.
   Episode 17: In which Steve suits up for a new life in the Cap City!
   Episode 18: In which Steve starts to realize he’s not in Eugene anymore.
   Episode 19: In which Steve switches from job seeking to home seeking.
   Episode 20: In which Steve starts to learn some things via the error side of trial and error.
   Episode 21: In which Steve experiences his first blizzard.
   Episode 22: In which Steve contemplates his next move.
   Episode 23: In which Steve prepares to switch gears... again.
   Episode 24: In which Steve spends a week in a hotel with four thousand teenagers and then gives his 30-day notice.
   Episode 25: In which Steve reminisces about his 10 weeks in Columbus while waiting in the wings.
   Episode 26: In which the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
   Episode 27: In which Steve changes everything.
   Episode 28: In which Steve finds Brood X, gets a teeny crush on a fellow trainee and learns where he's going, approximately.
   Episode 29: In which Steve starts to see how politics really works.
   Episode 30: In which Steve writes a letter to Kelly, executive director of the group that fired me.
   Episode 31: In which Steve spends a tentative week commuting to work in Maine.
   Episode 32: In which Steve learns he's just one piece on the board.
   Episode 33: In which Steve settles in for three months of intense campaigning.
   Episode 34: In which Steve is deep into the final countdown.
   Episode 35: In which Maine wins, the nation loses and Steve heads home.
   Episode 36: In which Steve doesn’t do much more than comb the classifieds and update his Web site.
   Episode 37: In which Steve slips into a normal life.

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