Saturday, May 25, 2013

Feeding the Hordes Continues, Part V

For the past three days, I've been running around trying to post fliers for the Boy Scout pancake breakfast next Saturday. I know I should have had the boys do this. I handed out fliers at the last meeting, but when I was out and about, I only saw one flier that I wasn't responsible for posting. One. I learned a lot by going around to local businesses and asking if I could put up fliers in their windows.

First, I learned that I have a great deal of difficulty walking in, asking to post the flier, and walking out without buying anything. At the market, I bought some necessary groceries. No problem. Those people are great. They know me. At the coffee hut, I bought a coffee. Still, no problem. At the cafe, I realized I was hungry, so I ordered a bowl of soup and some tea. By the time I left, I realized that this was going to take a very long time and I'd better make a pit stop before I took the dog on the trail for a walk. I was also going to spend a lot of money. By the time I was done, I bought coffee at two places, tea and soup at another, three bags of groceries, barbecue for dinner Thursday, teriyaki for dinner on Friday, and a straw hat from the hardware. I like those people at the hardware store. I also got a bottle of water and a cheerful set of directions to the new off leash area in the area from guy at a coffee house where I had never stopped before. I finally did figure out that I had enough courage to walk into a place, ask, smile, post the flier, and walk out. The cupcake place was my first stop of deep courage. They were kind, too, which only made it that much harder for me to leave without one of their pretty cupcakes in hand. And the smell in there was divine.

The next thing I learned is that I am sensitive to the difference in the vibe given off by employees when I wasn't an actual customer. It changed my opinion of the Starbucks where I'd met a friend a number of times when it was too wet  to walk the dogs. I had stopped at an outside table there to pet a guy's dog when a woman, someone in her twenties, approached.

"We don't even have a community board in there any more," she said to me with barely disguised disdain.

"Okay," I said. I looked at the guy with the dog. "Any chance you're interested in a pancake break....."

"No!" they both shouted in unison. They hadn't even let me tell them what it was for.

I was tired. I was tired of coffee. The fliers weren't for me. I was putting myself out there for a few boys who might not otherwise get to go to Boy Scout camp. I might have given the guy a look before I walked away, but I'm not sure if I had the presence of mind.

I've felt like an idiot a lot this week. Most of the time, it was met with kindness and just once, it wasn't.

So why am I supposed to come back to this Starbucks, to have these people making me coffee with plastic smiles on their faces? I'll go a half a block further to the place where the guy was cheerful and they had a wonderful fireplace and cosy seating. I'll go to the place where the cashier said her son loved pancakes and she might bring him next Saturday. She even brought me a cup of miso soup. I'll go back to the market where the guy said he'd be our backup if we ran out of anything that morning.

I may have been uncomfortable this week as I taped up fliers for the pancake breakfast, but I definitely learned where my allegiances lie. I'm also a little bit more courageous than I was before.

Thank you for listening, jb

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