Hank Voge

The Not For Sale staff is going on a retreat next week.  They are getting out of Half Moon Bay to plan 2012 and to reassess the organization’s position.  It’s an exciting time for Not For Sale.  The campaign is growing rapidly (keep an eye out for upcoming tweets), and the retreat will be a great opportunity for the staff to readjust.  But it’s kind of a weird situation for me because the retreat is taking place at my home.


Well, the building is not technically my home.  I spend only about two months there a year, but I have spent even less time at the place where my family now lives in San Diego.  And I have never even set foot inside my dad’s flat in London.  So the other house—the one Not For Sale is visiting—is the most homey home I have.


The situation may sound odd—not many people send their co-workers to stay at their house—but there’s an easy explanation for it.  Not For Sale planned the retreat before I began my fellowship.  I first met Dave Batstone at a fancy sandwich restaurant in London.  He had just met with some important people at CNN International, and he was on his way to meet with Desmond Tutu.  But he made time to have lunch with my mom and me (God knows why).  At that lunch, my mom and I—I don’t know who brought up the subject—told Dave about the house, and my mom suggested that maybe his staff would like to go there.  And the rest you can figure out for yourself.  I did not know at the time that I would be volunteering for Not For Sale when the planned retreat came around.


I keep thinking about the retreat.  I wonder what the staff will say when they see the place.  I worry about one of them getting injured.  I imagine the moment when they meet my friends who live down there.  I wonder if that pesky scorpion problem is still thwarting the master bedroom (wear shoes, Dave).  I hope they don’t drink my father’s 1984 Opus One.  I hope they don’t look at my artwork or read my writing.  Dear God, I hope they don’t find a certain pair of shoes I have hidden away.


But mostly I am excited for them.  I think they are going to have a great time.  And I think it’s funny how much has changed for me this year.  When I met Dave, all I knew about Not For Sale was that my mom loved Dave’s book and that my friends in college had raised money for the organization.  I now know every person on the staff, all of whom are going on a retreat first conceived eight months ago over fancy sandwiches six thousand miles away.


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