Pretty much the first thing you learn when you move to, or even visit San Francisco is that there are a lot of things on the sidewalk that you wish weren’t there. There are the pigeons, which if you look closely will present almost infinite opportunities for disgust. There is the garbage mixed with human and animal excrement, and then there are the people who want you to sign up for Greenpeace.
They are often the last hurdle on your way to the office door, and because they are the last they are typically the hardest to get over. They always come in pairs and will stand 20 feet apart – backs to each other, clipboards at the ready – as though they were about to take part in a duel, and they are, but it’s not with each other.
If Greenpeace spent as much on the rainforest as it does on its sign-up volunteers’ Green Beret training, they might be getting somewhere. This is, of course, a horrible cynical view, but that’s the kind of view engendered by encounters with these clipboarders.
The most important thing to remember is while the eyes may be the windows to the soul, that soul might be crazy.
Never make eye contact with one of these faux-nonchalant, woven bracelet wearing youngsters, because the moment you do they will lock onto you like you’re a petting animal in a cougar zoo, and even if you then try to look away or employ the “heavy thoughts” face or the “where is my phone?” bag shuffle they will continue to follow you, their environmental eyes boring whale-shaped holes through your Marc by Marc by Marc by Marc for Walgreens sunglasses, and eventually unless you are very strong or very interested in your iPod, you will look up, and they will say, with this shit-eating grin on their face like you just admitted your plans to drink a bottle of seal tears, “Hello, how are you today?”
Before even waiting to hear how you are (Not good. Getting worse) they will ask you some completely personal question like, “Do you have a minute for the Earth?” and then they will smile, because in your hesitation at what must be the most obvious answer of all (there are only two options. One is definitely wrong), they see a part of your carefully constructed version of things falling apart. You had built your own world on Earth, and it had nothing to do with anything.