Monday, May 26, 2008

Sometimes I think fast enough

It's early afternoon in Dupont Circle. I see her about twenty yards away, standing in the middle of the sidewalk, waiting for me. She's maybe twenty, cute as a hot fudge taco, wearing Teva sandals, cargo shorts, a few little string bracelets, and a Greenpeace t-shirt. She's carrying a clipboard. Bloody hell.

I glance around. There are people walking near me, but nobody close enough to use as a screen. I'm busted. She's smiling a bright sunny young outdoorsy herbivore kind of smile. She knows she's got me.

Understand, I'm a member of Greenpeace, and I support Maryland PIRG, and I work for a major science policy advisory group that's doing important work to help raise public awareness of climate change. My treehugger cred is pretty well-established. I'm just not in the mood to be hustled. It's a beautiful day and I don't want to waste a second of it explaining to a canvasser why I'm not a bad person if I don't want to give her money.

Inspiration strikes: I remember a story I read once about how Alfred Hitchcock dealt with a similar situation. I wait till she's just taking breath to say "excuse me sir, can you spare a moment for Greenpeace?" and I whip out my cell phone as though it's just rung. I start talking.

"Dude. About fucking time you called me back. Listen, there's blood all over the apartment. I said there's blood all over the fucking apartment. It's all over the bathroom and the living room. We're gonna have to replace the fucking rug. There's even some on the ceiling. What the fuck were you doing in there, man? Look, you're gonna have to clean that shit up. No! Dude. You clean it up. It's not my fucking mess."

I pass the canvasser. Out of the corner of my eye I can see her staring at me as I go by, uncertain of what to say. I snap my phone closed and disappear into the crowd.

9 comments:

Melissa said...

Thank you.

THANK YOU.

T said...

Dude. That's fucking awesome! I'll have to remember that one, although usually I just put my head down like a bull and race on through--but of course, here in NYC it's almost always possible to hide behind someone else. The only ones I'm not so terribly determined to avoid are the canvassers for various gay organizations that I actually do give money to, however occasionally. But the Greenpeacers are the worst and most aggressive. Good on you!

hsempl said...

oh my bloody GOD that is great. and it says a lot about you that once i get over the brief shock it seems very natural, and i think maybe hitchcock musta come into the future and stolen that bit from you; i mean, dude didn't even have a cellphone.

wow.

Rob said...

The original story is that Hitchcock was getting on an elevator down in his office building with a reporter who was interviewing him for (I think) Ladies' Home Journal, and there were three or four other people in the elevator, and as the doors were closing Hitch said to the reporter: "There was blood everywhere! I'd never seen so much blood in my life! And do you know what happened then?" And then the doors opened and Hitch and the reporter got off, and Hitch stopped talking.

And the reporter said, "Uh -- well? What happened?"

And Hitch said, "Oh, that's just my elevator story."

He really was one of the best people that ever lived.

Orion said...

Rob...it pays to be literate doesn't it? What a funny inspiration to arrive in the nick of time! You gave me my smile for the day. Thanks Dude!

mike said...

Works with Greenpeace, but what's your spiel when approached by Satan worshippers with clipboards?

Rob said...

"Dude, there's holy water all over the fucking apartment. We're gonna have to replace the rug."

pleasurefromthethorns said...

you are my fucking hero!

Ceilisundancer said...

That is hilariously great, elevator, cell phone, whatever.