Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Greta Garbo post

I do not have a minute for gay rights or for the environment. I do not want a dollar off at Subway, nor do I want a free movie pass. And no, for the purposes of strangers on the street, I am not Jewish.

Even leaving aside panhandlers (who seem to have picked up on Park Slope's mix of wealth and liberal guilt), the sidewalk-solicitation* universe has spiraled out of control. If I dress too undergraddy, I'm targeted more aggressively near NYU. Note to self: leggings, even under a dress, scream "naive freshman." Whereas if I go the young-professional route, I become the assumed owner of a Park Slope townhouse, with bills and coins to spare. I suppose I could dress in rags, but then I'd probably end up with less authority as a teacher and, at best, an extra dollar-off coupon for Subway.

Had I never left New York, I might provincially assume that being hassled like this was a NYC phenomenon. But once, on Chicago's Michigan Avenue, some young men were selling M&Ms for their basketball team. When I ignored the sales pitch, I received an enthusiastic, "Well fuck you!" Which kept me a loyal vending-machine customer for all of undergrad.

* I realize this sounds like I mean prostitutes. Is there a better expression?


Russell said...

Perhaps "tout" would do better?

Nick said...

not even one minute for gay rights?


Phoebe said...

Russell: "tout"?

Nick: In the same way that I'm not Jewish. If you're on the street asking, the answer is no.

Russell said...

I realize now that referring to such a person as a tout is more of a British English thing. Hmm I'm not sure of other alternative phrasings for a solicitor.

Phoebe said...

I was thinking of "tout" in French, meaning "all"... my longest teaching day is Tuesday and it's hard to escape French-grammar-mode!