I work for a political mobilization group that specializes in face-to-face interaction. We fundraise on behalf of women’s rights, anti-poverty and some other shit. Basically, I’m that wide-eyed smiling fucker who waves to you on the street like he knows you and asks you to become a child sponsor for a starving child in Africa.
What made me take this path when many more mentally stable positions are available? I want to save the world? I need to experience poverty in the developed world after getting a taste of it in the third world?
Initially, the most difficult aspect to adjust to for this job was the hate I received from strangers on the street. I see you America. I see your faces. Happy faces. Sad faces. Non-charity giving Asian faces. Douche bag faces.
Hey Sir :). How are you today? Do you have a moment to help fight child poverty?
Fuck off. I have a moment to help fight children.
Note to self: Stop stopping homeless people. Try to take a look at their shoes before you strike a conversation. If they aren’t wearing any, odds are they are homeless.
Hello sir :). You look like you care about the environment.
(Man scoffs, throws cigarette butt in my direction.)
Note to self: People are assholes.
Hello sir :). Would you like to help fight for women’s access to birth control?
I don’t support baby killers. BIRTH CONTROL IS DESIGNED TO KILL BLACK BABIES!
Oh… thank you for this Hitler pamphlet comparing birth control pills to eugenics.
Note to self: Fuck you.
I’ve been working on a new conversation starter rather than the typical smile and a wave. Here’s what I have so far.
Hey you son of bitch. You better fucking stop and talk to me or I will slap you, you stingy piece of elitist Republican shit. Now sponsor this mother-fucking child or I will smack you with my clipboard.
The variety of people I interact with in a day and random love/hate from strangers immerses me in a wide set of emotions: grief, joy, insanity, rage, hysteria, pride, and giddiness.
Your typical activist keeps a tally of the number of people who stop to talk. Seeing as how you can expect to interact with about 20 people in a 5-hour shift, it can get boring. To keep from acting on the urge to stick my leg out when people walk by or throw a stick into people’s bicycle spokes, I keep a modified tick sheet.
|Wednesday’s Tick-off Notes|
|2 fuck offs|
|1 baby killer|
|20 hello backs with smiles|
|Damn this person is yelling at me right now… :(|
|Fucker fuck shit shit|
|Don’t pretend like you don’t see me. I SEE YOU. I SEE YOU!|
|1 phone number from elderly Columbian tourists that asked me for directions and invited me to stay with them in Bogota the next time I go backpacking through Latin America|
|Bitch cock shit|
|2 homeless people|
My first day I only raised $30 dollars. I wanted to cry and thought I may be the worst and most violent prone activist known to man. Was it my smile? Was I not non-threatening Asian enough? Did I give off a FU aura? Should I change my hair style?
Apparently, activism is a skill. And with any skill, you need practice to develop and improve.
*** Stay tuned for the next blog post… training montage in the art of canvass.
Paz y Mucho Amor,
Cho Guevara, The Grassroots Ninja