Thursday, 5 May 2011

It's Official: I'm The Worst

Today I fake-called myself on my cellphone so that I could avoid being approached by a pack of teens who were selling tealight lamps for a school function.

And I didn't even feel bad about it. In fact, I wish I'd thought of this avoidance tactic earlier.

Now this isn't really excusable behaviour, but I'm going to damn well try and justify it anyhow. You see, it's not the pretty flowers that signal spring has arrived in Bern: it's all the GD soliciting that starts up as soon as the sun shines. These people want your support, they want your signature, they want your money, and they will not leave you alone.

Walking through the crowds, without fail, the first people to approach you are the hippies who work for Greenpeace.

Do you care about the earth? Do you care about global warming? DO YOU CARE?

Since I can't really speak German, and I'm not 100% sure what they asked, I usually reply: No.

This offends them.

They follow you, badgering you into trying to make you understand their dreadlocked and pierced point of view. But rest assured if you walk fast enough you will soon be rid of them because there seems to be a strict perimeter they have to stick to, and once you cross the invisible boundary line, they stop dead in their sandled shoes and continue to call after you for being (I imagine) such a disgrace to humanity.

But don't get too comfortable because you're not in the clear yet. Now you have to confront the enraged idealists who want to banish nuclear power, and they make the Greenpeacers seem downright mellow. It's no use joking with them and saying you couldn't possibly support something that would put Homer Simpson out of a job, because they won't laugh.

So soon you've escaped that deadpan nuclear crowd, but now you have to deal with the different religions clamoring to be heard:

Come to my booth. We have aliens and Tom Cruise! Come on over you lost little immortal because you've got it all wrong silly: being auditted is actually fun [smiley face].

Don't go there! Come over here, our religion is the right one and there's the added bonus that you get to stand as still as a mannequin  at bus stops, and hope that people will take the magazine you're offering. Don't worry, it's only slightly embarrassing if you run into someone you know.

Don't go to either one of those booths! Come to mine! We literally stand on soapboxes on street corners and yell at everyone for being Godless sinners. It's great for anger management!

If you can escape those people, you now have to pass the two men in wheelchairs who park themselves on either side of the sidewalk, and dejectedly jingle the change in their tin cups as you walk by.

Then you have to pass the different artists who are strumming their guitars with their caps on the ground; the school kids who will swarm you and try to pick your proverbial pocket by selling you the most expensive chocolate bar ever, and trust me it doesn't come with a golden ticket; then you have to pass the young couples who are spread out on the ground with dogs sleeping at their feet and they appeal to your animal loving nature by requesting money so they can feed their dogs; then when you get to the bus you will be asked for money twice in three minutes by the same person and he isn't even representing a cause, selling chocolate, singing a song, or even owns a dog. He just straight up wants whatever is left in your pocket.

It is getting exhausting and expensive.

So you see, I really have to fake call myself because if I don't take these precautions pretty soon I'm going to end up clutching a clipboard and running after Thursday afternoon shoppers:

Excuse me? Do you care about the fact that I hopped a bus and wasted energy to get down here to buy new shoes? I belong to that religion called "embarrassing consumerism" and really need your support. I spent all my money on the street arts, and feeding other people's animals, and buying candy from babies, and now I don't have enough left over to get those cute wedges I've been coveting.

Help a girl out?

I'll braid your hair.

1 comment:

mom said...

Wow, geez, I think it is worse there than here. So far, we only have the usual people on Victoria street, asking for money....no Greenpeacer's nor religious fanatics yet, thank goodness!!