Friday, August 11, 2006

Streetcorner Timeshares

So today we try again to save the world, or at least Anne Arundel County. We arrived with ironed campaign shirts and mini bottles of water to wave at rush hour traffic on a street corner near Bowie. I had decided to be particularly adventurous for my third sign waving and wore platform white sandels. All for the message of course.

The streetcorner was not unoccupied. And oh were we not welcome by the Pentacostal church that squatted there regular. They twisted their white buckets and smoothed down their heavy black clothing in just that way. Black under the summer sun. Oh really now. Must have been with their brains half hard-boiled that they ran through the selection of human propts they dragged out for rush hour.

Token homeless guy claiming to need bus fair to Virginia was one thing. You expect that. We could barely stomach the second act, and remember, I was a pagan in a crowd of Catholics. She was a little old woman. They escorted her out by the elbow, while she smiled that vacant and uneven red lipstick way that cried for a fleecing. The Pentacostals took her across the street and I lost track of her location.

Shortly there after, as the light to the four lane divided highway going north turned green, the campaign signs around the streetcorner slapped against the sidewalks. As the cars accelerated through the intersection and cleared away, I lowered my sign in confusion. Pulling off my sunglasses, I spotted our campaign manager storming across the street.

Standing on a line in the middle of the four lanes was the little old woman, in her black dress and holding out her enourmous bucket at the on-coming cars. One gets the impression that Catholics outside the anti-abortion crusade are pretty laid back. But even I could hear the dressing down the Pentacostal minister got from over a hundred paces. They put the little old lady back behind the curtain. For that evening at least.


Blogger StealthBadger said...


Just to make sure I understand, when you say "bucket" do you mean collection bucket, or hat?

And what knocked over the signs, a car (or cars) swerving to avoid her?

Sounds less than fun to watch....

6:02:00 PM  
Blogger olive said...

Bucket means white collection bucket, yeah, the usual.

The signs hitting the ground happened when the campaign workers realized she was out in the middle of traffic, and lowered them. The first thing people thought of was how to get through traffic at her, which you can't do with a sign. We left them down until she was safe and gone.

The cars just missed her because the light had been red when she wandered out there. She had been copying the behavior she saw in the other collectors or doing as they told her. But she still could barely stand.

I was furious, and didn't trust myself to speak. This is why I never give to churches who beg like this. Ever.

6:15:00 PM  
Blogger StealthBadger said...


Absolutely crazy.


I'm glad no-one got hurt.

8:17:00 PM  

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