>My Phone Chat With Ray Mitchell

>You know how I told Ray Mitchell to stop beating up on himself? Well, he found our blog, and told me to give him a call. I did. I don’t think I’m going to change his mind, and I don’t expect to, but he heard me, so that’s pretty damn cool. I don’t think I could say the same for Karen Farbridge or David Birtwistle. Scott Nightingale might, he’s all about open communication. But the big 2, nada, it would never happen.

As I dialed the phone, I wondered what the heck I would even say. I’m pretty good at writing my thoughts down, but when it comes to speaking, well, I fumble and don’t think as quickly, and end up doing a lot of spluttering. The phone rang. I thought hmmm…what if I get his voicemail? What am I going to say? I’m Carin from the blog, call me? But he picked up, and off we went. I’m going to try and capture our conversation as best I can, but I’m probably going to screw up somewhere because Ray had a lot to say and I was doing my best to take it all in and make sense of what I wanted to say back.

He thanked me for giving him a call, and said there’s lots of people telling him what to do, and it’s a funny thing because everybody’s got an opinion. I can imagine. I think if I had enough guts to run for mayor, I’d be burned out and pulled in so many directions before the campaign was over. But he insists that noone knows who he is. That seems impossible to me. Everybody who knows anything about the arts in Guelph knows who he is, people who knew about him being evicted from his spot downtown know who he is, and that was in the paper a lot. People know who Ray is, whether he wants to believe it or not. I have half a mind to randomly ask people I know if they know who Ray is and see what happens, just to find out.

He says that the main people who really do know who he is aren’t the most likely folks to get out and vote. But I still say that they might if they feel they have an option that feels like enough of one to get out there and make their voice heard. I said to him that often times, I feel like I have the choice of electing poop, crap or dog doo. There’s no one who I feel like I identify with and all the choices don’t look any good. I told him when I saw he was putting his name in there, I got pretty excited because I already sort of know what he’s all about.

I told him that it just broke my heart to watch him beat up on himself. He said he’s probably the happiest one running, because he can talk about stuff that the ones who really want to get elected won’t touch, like poverty and the downtown and stuff. I told him that there were issues that I would love to ask the candidates, like the constant references to Guelph as a walkable community, but the lack of sidewalks in parts of the city. He agreed that that one wouldn’t get touched because blind pedestrian issues would be considered by most candidates to be a pretty unique situation that wouldn’t help them get votes, and the crappy part of democracy is the ones who want to succeed have to suck up to the wrong people. But he knew where I was coming from.

He also said he felt sorry for the campaign managers of the big candidates because some of them used to be members of council, and now they’re trying to get other folks elected, and how sad is that? If they do their job, they don’t even get the prize. The man’s got a point.

He kept saying that every vote that he gets will be hilarious, and a protest vote against the big candidates, and if he gets one vote he’ll be happy. I was a bit of a jerk and said he should get at least one vote, because he should vote for himself. But I had to say that because of how little he seems to believe in himself. I think the poor guy was about sick of me because I kept telling him to stop saying that he’s not going to get votes, and I was getting kind of loud and animated about it. But he never made me feel that way, there was just a small part of me that was saying “If I was in his shoes, I’d be ready to tell this woman off right about now.” He’s good stuff for putting up with me.

He thanked me for the call and told me to feel free to go and write about how it went. He actually jokingly said “talk about how nice I am.” Hey, I already know he’s a nice guy, and that’s why I didn’t want to see him beating up on himself. If I thought he was a nut or a jerk, I wouldn’t care if he thought he wouldn’t get any votes. But I totally think he has more of a chance than he thinks he does, and I think deep down, there’s a part of him that knows he does too, or he wouldn’t have even tried.

He’s like me in the way that words come to him, but it’s hard to get them to come out right. I’m much better at writing stuff down than talking. But I told him that he’d probably get better at talking with more practice. We’ll see if he’ll get some more practice.

The coolest thing is I now know pretty much exactly where his store is, so I can drop in and see him. Whenever I would ask people where Dis-a-Ray Antiques was, I’d get vague answers like “It’s downtown,” or “It’s on Wyndham Street.” Hmmm…that covers one hell of a lot of ground. But now I know. So hey, I might just drop in some time. I’ve been very bad and haven’t checked it out. I’ve meant to, I just haven’t tried hard enough. Now, I definitely have to stroll on in. Maybe others who don’t know who he is should drop by 3 Wyndham Street and have a look around too and say hello.

So that was our conversation. It’s funny, we were only on the phone a few minutes, but a lot got said and it’s taken me a long time to try and get it all written down properly so I could do it justice. Good luck Ray. I hope you get more votes than you think. And if you manage to get all those non-voting types to go out and cast a vote, then you have managed to change the world just a tiny little bit.

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