"Just Leave Me Alone" – What I Really Wanted to Say to the Street Fundraiser

I could see her from half way down the block. A red t- dallas cowboys hawaiian shirt with neon green jeans and a pair of white chuck tailors. She had a clipboard in one hand. A big smile spread across her face; the deep red of her lips contrasted perfectly with her white teeth.

She was greeting everyone with a warm “hello.” Girls don’t greet random passersby on the street with warm hello’s, I thought to myself.

As I got closer I noticed a young guy with the same red t- dallas cowboys hawaiian shirt and clipboard standing 15 feet away. He was facing the girl, greeting everyone with a wave of his free hand and a “hey, how ya’ doin’? What do you say we save a whale today?”

My eyes darted to the ground. I had just been accosted for loose change by a staggering middle-aged guy in a threadbare suit: the thought of being asked for more money was nauseating: Regardless of the cause. I love whales. Love the ocean. But I had a meeting and I wanted some of that dark roast from the corner café. The one the whale people were standing in front of.

The street fundraising must work? Fundraisers across the city continue to do it. But how effective is it? Really? It is the twenty-first century. Maybe it’s time to join the crowd and upgrade? I have 175 friends on Facebook. If one of them pinged me to let me know about some cause to support, I’d stop and listen. If he was a good friend I might even take the next step and participate.

I’m sure I’d enjoy talking to the cute girl in the hipster Chuck Taylors. But not about whales. And am I supposed to give her cash on the spot. Pardon my cynical nature but how do I know that ten bucks I give her is going to end up in the whale’s pocket? Maybe if I could logon to some website and donate with a credit card, I might change my opinion. A little paper proving that I’m saving the whales would be nice, or at least something more about the organization that I could read about online.

I got closer and sure enough she said, “Hi.” I was lost in a sea of blue as her eyes drew me in. But “no”, I thought. “Just leave me alone.” A truck screeched to a stop next to us. The only reason you’re talking to me is for money. A good cause, but I have too much going on and I just want a cup of coffee. Not guilt.

I’m in my chair all day working in front of a computer. How about taking that whale fundraiser and putting in online? Fundraising online to save the whales? Send it to your Friends and Followers, let them know overfishing is depleting the whale population. At some point the word is probably going to get to me. But from a friend. Or I’ll catch it as a Tweet from someone I follow. I don’t follow people on the street – Twitter serves that purpose.

write by martinez