Friday, July 17, 2009

Just stop blogging me around

There used to be a time when someone could walk to his local Borders, crawl down to the basement, grab a graphic novel and quietly read it in the Spanish-language self-help section in peace. Sadly, those days are gone. It’s not because they’ve removed the chairs from the Spanish-language self-help section. (They’ve actually removed all the seats from the basement because while I would use them for reading comics, the teenagers and weirdoes would abuse them for reading manga) The reason no one does this anymore is because you cannot approach the Borders at 18th and L without being accosted by a 20 year old with a clipboard. The want support for their cockamamie causes and schemes. And worse, they want your time.

The most common ways to avoid engagement with these children all involve being angry* so I won’t bore you. But if you do get stuck talking to one I’ve found the best response is to indicate that whatever they are peddling is a conflict of interest to whatever it is that you do. Usually that’s an adult enough reply to put them off their game. But if you get pressed you can borrow some business cards I’ve made up.

Most of these groups lean toward port so someone who’s sold enough of their soul to perpetuate Japanese whale harvesting usually doesn’t have any more room in their black heart for whatever they’re advocating.

But that doesn’t get to the main issue. Why the hell are there so many of these people lingering around that part of the Golden Triangle? Is there a sale at the Tiny Jewel Box? Do they need the perfect off-color gag gift from the Chocolate Moose? Was the line at the Greek Deli too long?

The answer is actually pretty simple: Laziness.

I have in my possession a big book that lists all the special interest/lobbyist/advocacy groups in the Washington DC region. From that book, I have randomly plucked the names of six organizations that sound like they would send interns into the streets to collect pledges or signatures in support of their world-saving, likely arboreal embracing causes.
  1. International Humane Society
  2. Peace Corps
  3. Ocean Conservancy
  4. Friends of the Earth
  5. Legacy Foundation
  6. Wilderness Society
(The Legacy Foundation is probably the only one on this brief list whose cause isn’t immediately clear. They’re the group that, with enough funding, would position someone outside the exit nearest every high school art room in America in order to smack cigarettes out of kid’s mouths. They are anti-American and need to be reminded that without Pocahontas and John Rolfe and tobacco this proud nation wouldn’t even have the fine system of roads and trails that they use to ride their high horses.)

Obviously, interest groups have offices all over this fair city. And I have no proof that any of the above are the ones canvassing. But isn’t it a big coincidence that the corner 18 and M looks like its right in the center of these 6 randomly chosen organizations? And if I was a lazy intern and had to gather signatures on a hot July mid-day, doesn’t it look like a good place to station myself? It’s close enough to the office that I can get there without breaking a sweat but far enough away that the bossman can’t see me out the window. Especially when I start forging names or throwing all the forms down the storm drain. Why did I even take this job? I love smoking.

There you have it. Faultless reasoning to why there are so many clipboarders preventing me from reading the Walking Dead series in its entirety during lunch. It’s junk science at its most quotable.

*Fortunately, as has been pointed out by my family, if not actively expressing an emotion my face naturally reverts to “mildly pissed.”

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