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September 17, 2008

Attack of the clipboards

Portland is absolutely glutted with be-clipboarded do-gooders who sometimes stand three to a corner. They desperately want you to register to vote/ donate money to Obama/ save a dying child/ end petlessness.

In the block-and-a-half between the library and my train stop I side-stepped one man who wanted to register me vote (did it on Saturday), did a swoosh and dip to avoid a lady who wanted me to join Greepeace and ignored another woman whose heart's greatest wish was to register me to vote (I did it on Saturday! Sheesh!).

I was distracted by a street musician and totally fell into another clipboarder's trap. I didn't notice her clipboard at first, and removed my earbud because I couldn't hear what she was trying to say to me.

"Thanks for unplugging! I'm Jacquelyn. What's your name?"

Zounds! She asked me if I've ever thought of sponsoring a child. I told her I was actually sponsoring one. I don't know why I lied. Maybe it was because I've been approached by the folks at Children's International so many times I feel like the time I've spent listening to them is worth about the same as a sponsorship. Mabye it's because I have a friend who spent a day working for them and she told me what she thought about the people who said they couldn't afford to sponsor a kid. In any event, I regretted it as soon as the words slipped out. I suck at lying.

"That's great!" Jacquelyn said. "What country?"

Busted. She's a tricksy one. "Oh... uh... The Gambia? I think?"

"We actually don't serve children there," Jacquelyn said cheerfully. She went on to give me her pitch about how I can be a penpal with the child I sponsor, and actually go to the country to meet him or her. "Doesn't that sound great?"

"Yeah, that's why I'm sponsoring one," I said.

"So who are you sponsoring them through?" she asked.

"Um... I forget the name. A Christian agency."

"Really," she said, raising her eyebrow at my no-good, very bad, horrible lying self.

"Yep! Bye!" I said as I ran away.

Jacquelyn, if you're out there, I'm sorry for lying to you. You didn't deserve it. About a month ago I told one of your coworkers who managed to run into me thrice in the same day that I'd sponsor a kid as soon as I get another job or go full time, and I intend to keep that promise. Now if you could please get your ilk to leave me alone I'd be much obliged.


  1. Oh my...the depths to which we'll sink to avoid doing good.

  2. You always end up in the most bizarre situations girl...but for future reference, Children's International sponsors children in Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Philippines, the US and Zambia.

  3. Good to know, Kat. Zambia: so close to Gambia yet so far away...

  4. This happens all the time in downtown Minneapolis too, and they don't take no for an answer. I hate them and their unlimited reserves of cheerfulness.

  5. Maybe if you used your mortar and pestle on their fingers and toes they'd leave you alone?