0700: By the time I wake up, I’ve got three missed calls from my booth manager, who’s reminding me to wash my shirt. It’s day five of the campaign and, till now anyway, I was wearing the same shirt uninterrupted each day. “The smell is turning away voters”, they said.
0900: My job today is to follow [REDACTED] around campus. He’s the corrupt candidate, and we figure we can get him disqualified if we get enough electoral breaches on tape. I asked to look at [REDACTED]’s receipts and [REDACTED] said they were still rendering.
1100: Walk-and-talk outside Fisher. Get told to fuck off in Española, which joins French, German and English as ‘languages I’ve been told to fuck off in’.
1130: Go to King Street for lunch. Sit next to someone from rival campaign on bus. In my head, imagine an entire reality where we overcome our differences and have a steamy romance inside the ballot box. She gets off a stop before me. I run my hand down the window and whisper “noooo” as she walks past.
1200: Stop campaigning to go to class. People look anxiously over their shoulders when they see me approaching. “Don’t worry, I’m off-duty,” I say, but the guy has headphones in so he just tells me to fuck off.
1300: Everyone I try campaigning to goes to UTS. Even that guy wearing a USyd bomber jacket.
1400: Cute girl walks towards me near Manning. I smile. She pulls her phone out and puts it to her ear. “I’ve already voted”, she says. The polls don’t open till next week.
1430: For the first time in ten years, I see my estranged father, standing in a throng of people on Cadigal Green. I run to him. Dad, I have so much to s— “Sorry Son,” he replies, “I’m voting for Alisha”.
1500: It starts to rain. My soggy candidate flyers become a metaphor for my heart. One of our placards is pushed over by the wind. It is also a metaphor for my heart.
1600: A mother comes by the stall with her baby. I smile at the baby. The baby’s first words are “fuck off”.