Yup – it seems what a lot of people say holds up to reality this time – it really ain’t safe to walk the streets any more….
….what with all them murderers, rapists, ASBOites, street preachers…. and charity clipboarders on the loose!
Seriously, it’s like negotiating an obstacle course at times, walking down the West End or one’s local high street; it seems that all a group of people need do is stick on a fancy badge and dig out a few clipboards, et voila – an instant license to harass! ASBOites take note – the Happy Slapping Giz a Fag Mate Party could garner exponential rewards!
In any case I’m usually a skilled evader of said clipboarders – a dodge there and an unmet glance there usually proves sufficient.
This Thursday proved a most educative lesson on the consequences of letting one’s guard slip.
So, I journeyed to Romford – a place notoriously rife with said clipboard charity cases – last Thursday in order to view Hard Candy on their resident bigscreen. Arriving early, I decide to kill some time at a few choice high street stores; however, taking a wrong turn proved to be my downfall….
"Hey, gorgeous!" a female voice cries upon my emergence from a side path; turning around I spot an somewhat attractive twentysomething making away toward me—in any other context that might be welcome!
In this context however, my heart immediately sank to my soles upon taking in the sight of her. Green shirt… pen… clipboard – upon seeing these, I knew that I’d allowed false pretenses to lure me into a trap!
So, after the introductory spiel and the introduction of her pet cause, she asks me: "What do you think of the ad campaigns on TV?"
"Ha – they’re kinda dramatic," I reply, remembering the rather amusing doses of melodrama piled on. A door…a table…a fist…
"I think they’re not dramatic enough. I want them more militant. I want them to show the dead victims of child abuse to really ram the point home."
This continued with her talking up a storm of case studies, sentiment and appeals to aid; trying to ask for an internet address to make a personal self-mediated donation only got brushed aside in favour of the clipboard.
"I want you to be spontaneous," she responded to my third (or fourth) attempt to avoid doing things her way.
So standing in the street to fill in a standing bank order out of a misplaced sense of guilt would have registered as… spontaneous? Being swayed by the sentiment of the moment to signing one life away proves ….spontaneous?
Her appeal toward the close of our exchange exposed its true nature:
"I know you’re gonna help us!"
I remember a thought akin to "Fuck you!" roaring aloud in my head at the time. How did her tactics differ in any fundamental way from the child abusers she rallies against? Appeals to act against one’s will in order to obtain favour with one’s dominators. I know you’re gonna do this for me; you wouldn’t wanna make me upset now; theeere’s a good boy…..
This wasn’t a philanthropic appeal, this was a power struggle – and woe to the vanquished!
Woe, indeed! After putting up with these coercive persuasion techniques for long enough I asked her name, shook her hand and walked on by, reclaiming my personal space and leaving sweet Lara to contemplate her failure – breaking young ladies’ hearts proves its own reward!
Seriously though, I often wonder what charities hope to achieve with these shock troops of theirs, congesting the streets with their "compassionate" cajoling. They come across as so fanatical, so fevered, that I can’t help drawing parallels between them and crazed street preachers and church recruiters; then again one could argue that an earthly wage (plus commission) works as a much stronger motivator than a heavenly salvation.
Some would say that I contribute to the rape, abuse and murder of a child when I choose not to give eight quid a month to the cause….
….I argue that the clipboard contingent contribute to the rape, abuse and murder to the concept of charity…