Perils of assimilation

If only life came with subtitles.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Coward Bears No Scars

Hey, guys! Long time no write, or it feels like it, at least. It's not that I have been hiding under a rock, rather, I have been going at a breakneck pace since I left Eau Claire on Sunday. I have discovered that I hate moving, and I hate it even more when hungover. I know: who the hell drinks the night before they move?

But I got back home in one piece, and the following morning I was up and on my way to Chicago. I had gotten an interview at this place, and aced it with flying colors. I may not like talking to people, but I know what they want to hear. I started the job the following morning, getting up at 5 to take a train from Fox Lake into the city. And so began my short, illustrious career as a professional asshole. My job was to canvass around Chicago, stopping people and asking them to donate money to Environment Illinois. My co-workers were extremely cool, and we had a lot of fun going out and being assholes together. The trick was to get people to stop for you: people in Chicago always seem, to quote some guy who wrote a book, "always late for their next shit, and a dime short for the public toilet." And they have even less time for you if you're standing at the corner of Adams and Dearborn, where the federal center is. I felt terrible asking people normal peole for money, that is, people who weren't wearing suits, because I know that the people who do give to causes are the ones who can't afford to. But, I felt completely ok talking to them about the Clean Water Restoration Act, and asking them to sign a letter of support.

Canvassing at Chicago and Michigan was even worse, posh people who obviously had time to shop at designer stores certainly had no time to hear a sixty second spiel, and had no problem telling me that they had n concern for the environment whatsoever. The people who did stop at that location for me were Australian and Irish (and one Belgian, my french finally came in handy) tourists who wanted to let me know that they appreciated that some Americans did care about the rest of the world.

There were plenty other canvassers out, so it was difficult to get people to stop a second time. But I did discover that the "Save the Children" people are incredibly nice, and that Greenpeace is a bunch of assholes who chase you down and try to get you to move off their corners, even if you were there first.

Because I evidently couldn't make quota, I was let go. I still get paid for my two days of work, which is great. My buddy Adam who I met through Couchsurfing took me out for a beer, and we went and had dinner with some other surfers at Earwax. All together there was one high school teacher, two doctors, a psychology Ph. D. student, and me. They were so fantastic, and made me feel much better about losing the job I just gotten.

It sucks, but I got some great things out of it: new friends, a better knowledge of where things are in Chicago, and I've certainly conquered my fear of public speaking.


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