My boss let me out of my cage today (this is relatively rare) to go to an event sponsored by Common Core. It was a good event (blog post coming as soon as I have time), but I need to note that their web site is a collection of bad ideas.
This is not why I’m writing though. During my 5 block journey to their office, I realized that many of us will avoid eye contact/ignore/cross to the other side of the street when we spy panhandlers, homeless people or shady characters we believe will rob us. None of these people bother me. However, I did consider running across Connecticut Avenue between crosswalks in order to avoid the information/donation panhandlers. You know who I’m talking about. Normally, it’s Greenpeace or some derivation thereof.
Environmental Panhandler: “Excuse me, sir. Do you have a moment for the environment?”
Me: “No, nay, never”
The exchange above did not take place today because I have, in the past, made the mistake of stopping and engaging in “debate” with some of these folks. It didn’t go well because the panhandler was not so well-informed on his topic. Two more encounters like that have us where we are today–contemplating very dangerous jaywalking to avoid these folks. It’s unfortunate because today’s group was actually Save the Children. They are similar to Children Inernational for which Heather and I have sponsored a Filipino girl named Rosemarie for about 6 years now.
So my message to the environmental panhandlers is that you have ruined it for all of your sidewalk-stalking brethren. Besides, do you really believe that stopping all of the people who are a) on their way to work; b) trying to get to their home or c) going to eat/a meeting/run an errand want to talk to you? Damn, that felt pretty cynical.