I saw her from a block away. My first thought was to avoid eye contact, but she was just so cute and I was craving some confrontation. So instead of the evasive tactics I normally employ when dealing with Clipboard Cuties, I marched straight up to her, head held high, smiling with confidence of a lunatic in the crisp October air.
“Hi,” she smiled. Short with dark hair and soft brown eyes. A kind, round face, she looked like a pixie, dressed like a college kid, she was extremely cute and she knew it. She looked fun. It was hardly fair.
“This isn’t fair, you know,” I said, still smiling, very friendly because, as much as the Clipboard Cuties frustrate me, I understand what it is all about.
“umm, what’s that?” she asked, not sure what I was talking about, wanting to launch into her speech about saving the whales, or the trees, or the spotted owl habitat, maybe the starving children in Africa.
“This. It’s a set up. You’re beautiful; you clipboard girls are always beautiful. You stand here on the corner like some modern day jezebel, seducing poor schmoos like me out of our beer money. And the thing is, we don’t even get anything out of it. I mean, sure, I care about the owls, and the whales, and I really have a soft spot for children in Africa, but at the end of the day, I could donate on my own. Thing is, I don’t have any money, so I volunteer. I show up every Thursday at the Union Mission in Oldtown and serve sandwiches and bus tables and wash dishes. That’s what I can do. I don’t get paid for it, like you do here on your corner. I do it because that’s my neighborhood, this is my city, and if I can make a tiny little section of it better, even slightly better, for one afternoon, then I feel good about it. You know what I changed my mind, fuck the spotted owls.”
“Well, we have a program that sends people to…” she stammers, clearly thrown, maybe she loves the spotted owls.
“Listen Trixie,” I say, on the offensive now, still smiling, though in a slightly more twisted manner, “I’ve been on those trips. Spring Break in Central America? Yea, it’s a good excuse to hook up with a girl from New Jersey. And since everyone there is a supposed do-gooder, people don’t waste time pretending to get to know each other. They fool around and become Facebook friends. Call it what it is. I have exactly one block to walk to get to the Mission, and I will be hit up for change at least three times and offered drugs once. I will take abuse for surly old men and drunks and meth heads for four hours, and then on my one block walk home, I’ll be offered drugs and hit up for change again.”
She stares at me, not sure what to say, and honestly, it doesn’t matter, I’ve already moved on.