When I awoke this past Sunday, I was still unsure what “canvassing” was. My roommate, a visual arts student, assured me that it was not part of his line of work. At this point, I was left to arrive and hope for the best.

I was the first to arrive. I met Anita and we discussed how the day would proceed. She gave me the plan for door knocking including what to say, how to speak and other key tips. Otherwise, the task of intriguing people about the campaign was free to our own whims, ideas and creativity. Immediately, on this premise of such an exciting operation, I began imagining it as a sort of action-hero mission. With adrenaline pumping, we set off.

At my first door, I rapped on it politely and nervously. I got a very polite response back and I began to see how this would be easier than I had anticipated. Furthermore, Anita is a huge help while canvassing because she comes into the conversation giving a jolt of positive energy to the interaction. This energy carries over from door to door and it develops a quality unto its own. Honestly, its pure fun.

We were left to our creative devices into how to convince people that they should both come to the Michael Ignatieff event at Carlingwood Mall and to learn more about Anita's campaign. Largely, canvassing is so addicting that I sought to charge ahead and was not afraid to go on my own after the first couple doors.

In this experience, you truly get to step into someone's life at a random moment and see his or her innermost self. As ridiculous as that might sound, it's true. Even the one's who are not interested in what you are saying provide interesting stories, lines or let you discover something new.

Some of the notable stories of my experience would be the girl who told Omar that her Daddy told her she could not vote for anybody but a conservative. There are door lockers, one or two door slammers and many who are perplexed for quite a long time. Thankfully, Anita usually comes to the rescue at this point.

Although, the ones I most relish from my first experience were the ones who brought enthusiasm, a smile and interest to their doors. There are a surprising number of people who you can hear talking behind their door about the conversation, the campaign and which of their friends they will tell. Many people, political or not, enjoy canvassers and especially talking to the candidate directly.

My personal story of the day, on my first day canvassing, was a door in which I could smell pungent brownies the whole time. These just smelled like quality brownies and I found myself waiting at the door for a very long time. The aroma sent me into a fantasy in which the person opened the door, was a liberal and offered me a brownie. Sadly, this fantasy never came true and they never opened the door. My hope is that someday this happens.

Anita really means it when she says “canvassing is [her] fun”. You can see her eagerness as she moves to connect with the people. She has a natural ability to warm up a room. She is kind and cheerful and it just can't help but seep through into her canvassing. People find themselves caught in a moment between them and a candidate for public office face-to-face right at their doorstep. It is obvious that it is a rare treat to have Anita Vandenbeld show up at your door.

Canvassing really is a great experience. I advise that you try it. It is a moment like no other in which you connect with a total stranger, talk about politics, step into their frame of mind and get some good exercise out of walking around. I further advise you get out there before I get out there and hog it all.