Tag Archives: humor

Love Letter to Street Fundraisers

Dear Adorable, well-meaning child with clipboard,

Ours has not been an easy relationship, and I’ll concede that the blame for that falls to me.  You are spending a summer in the big city, trying to do something meaningful to shrug the burden of privilege you’ve been shamefully dragging through your gender studies curriculum. That was my major, too! So I know that this is probably the only job you could get after graduation. Our daily meetings on my route to work are fleeting, but don’t think I take you for granted.

Sweetheart, I’m sorry I told you I had “not even 5 milliseconds” for civil rights, that “I [didn’t] give a flying f**k” about “the children,” or that the rain forest could “blow me.” I’m really sorry about staring hard into your rosy face and pronouncing “NOT TODAY” as if you were the God of Death. I am sorry for the times when I gave you the “duhh” look and pointed to my oversize headphones, or for when I “answered” my mp3 player upon your smiling approach. Sorry for stopping ten feet from you to cross the street whilst scowling in your direction. Seriously, I am happy you’re committed to doing good things in the world.

I don’t question your earnestness, darling.  When you tell me about how little cash it takes to feed one child in a developing nation, to get him/her to school, learn job skills and escape a life of poverty and exploitation, I don’t doubt you for a second. When you tell me about all the rain forest acreage I could reclaim with my modest donation, I believe the impossible.  And when you say how acting now will make today and tomorrow better days for me and everyone else on the planet?  I am sure it will, pumpkin.

The thing is: I’m never, never going to donate to you and I don’t want to lead you on. If you were taking cash, I might well throw $10 in your face to stop you from talking. But there is no way I am writing my credit card numbers down on that flimsy sheet of paper that makes you a hot, mug-able target in your size zero purple Uniqlo jeans. I am not jotting down the keys to my financial identity for you to keep in your little folder as you continue to accost pedestrians. I’m just not that kind of girl.

When I tell you I will go to the website, I will.  I have. I sponsored that little girl from Sierra Leone via Paypal for what was, indeed, a fraction of my income.  Please rest assured that your first-world guilt inducing tactics have worked blazingly well!

But walking time, my love, is mama’s ALONE TIME.  Between uncle Ted, roommates, coworkers customers, friends and your lovely, telemarketing cousins, my time on the street is the only part of the day when I am not required to make eye contact or interact with anyone. Sometimes when I’m getting ready in my 4-person, 2-cat, 3-bedroom apartment, I’m just dreaming about the time I’ll get to spend walking down the street with no one acknowledging my existence. I realize you’re probably new in town, so I’ll give you a heads up: stop trying to talk to New Yorkers when we’re in public. Even for a good cause. It’s not that we don’t love you; it’s the only time we get to be by ourselves.



Timeline for a Temp Gig*

Days 1-3
Look up new job site on Google Maps and calculate commute via public and private transport. Show up freshly showered in your best slacks 10 minutes early. Make small talk, try to learn names. Drink one cup of free coffee and avoid the candy bowl at your reception desk. You can’t believe they’re paying you to blog, read The Awl and answer the phone once an hour. What luck!

Days 3-5
Arrive at 9:00 am exactly. Pull hair back in lieu of washing. Say good morning, get second cup of free coffee.  Eat two miniature snickers bars from candy bowl. Deflect telemarketers with curt, but polite precision.  Enjoy growing pride in subverting their attempts to talk to the media buyers. Stop trying to learn everyone’s name and wait to be addressed directly. Post stunning new insights on the corporate world on personal blog, tweet excessively, revel in uptick in cleverness output.

Days 5-10
Push arrival time to 9:15. What are they gonna do, FIRE you?  Angle bathroom hand dryer to aerate the smell of last night’s five gin & gingers from under your rumpled 3rd generation officewear. Forget the name-to-face recognition you learned the first week, start identifying coworkers by their phone extensions. Open and read every link on your Twitter feed but find no blogging inspiration.  Use phone message pads to compose art haiku. Spend hours flicking through your own Facebook photos.  Increase coffee intake to four cups.

Third week
Arrive begrudgingly punctual after reprimand from supervisor. Ignore looks that indicate coworkers notice you’re wearing the same clothes as yesterday. Grumble about being grossly underpaid to deal with all these assholes on the phone all the time.  I mean, really, what are you, the den mother?  People can’t even answer their own damn phones? Coffee intake incalculable due to chain-sipping. Someone asks you for a band-aid from the first aid kit behind your desk; backs away from vitriolic scowl. Jesus Christ. Lose patience with media blogs for not posting frequently enough.

Fourth week
Start new allegorical blog about a poor pixie caged by ogres and forced to answer phones in capitalist palace dungeon. Wear sunglasses inside, citing the AC drying out your eyes. Leave for lunch at 11:30 and return at 1:00.  This is your last week, anyway. Drink all the communal milk from kitchen fridge and empty candy bowl into your gullet instead of $10 midtown lunches that have been cutting into the pittance they are paying you to shoulder this Atlas load of responsibility. Quit coffee when the shakes set in. Sigh loudly into phone receiver before delivering greeting. Engage telemarketers, become friends and scheme to fly to Tulsa or Mumbai to tie one on once this damn gig is over. Disable Facebook and Twitter accounts, think seriously about changing religions.

Final day
Show up ten minutes early, freshly pressed and blown-dry. Inform everyone in office this is your last day, put on wistful, frowny face and tell them what a wonderful experience this has been.


*Attention potential employers: This, being humor, is not a true reflection of my work ethic nor is it representative of what I may or may not be doing at your company, right this second.  My references will attest that I am wonderfully friendly phone-answering dynamo.  And I don’t drink milk.