Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Accosted on the street by strangers

As you move toward Times Square, nearly every corner is populated with men trying to sell you tickets to a comedy show. For some reason I am like an unpleasant mark to them. I have tried different ways to respond to them, all of which seem to make them angry.

The Polite Approach: In which I say, "No, thank you" when they ask if I would like to see a comedy show. To which they reply by shouting after me, "WHY DON'T YOU TRY SAYING YES, HUH? WHAT ABOUT THAT?"

The Ignoring Them Approach: In which I pretend not to see or hear them. To which they reply by shouting after me, "WHAT, YOU CAN'T HEAR ME ASKING YOU IF YOU LIKE COMEDY? HUH?"

I am not sure why they keep yelling after me. They don't seem to do it to other people. Is it my old man sweater? Is it the fact that I am with a beautiful woman and they are insanely jealous? Are they intimidated by my monstrous biceps? I do not know.

Here was my favorite interaction today:

Guy Selling Tickets: Do you like comedy?

Me: No, thanks.

GST: You know, Shakespeare was pretty funny.

Me (already out of GST's range; grinning): Yes, he was.

Krista: Is that going on your blog?

Me: Yes. That guy has just earned himself a place in history at BHR.

Tomorrow I have some new techniques to try out. My favored one at this moment is the "Pretend You Are A Foreigner" technique. I think this might work, since people in Latin America tend to think I am their countryman, I thought I might be able to get away with it here. I just have to say something in Spanish whenever people try to sell me tickets. We'll see how it goes.

Two more strangers on the street:

1) While in the Village, two guys with clip boards started sending hand signals to each other while we walked by and the second guy said, "Gay and lesbian rights?" I just stared at him. I couldn't figure out what he meant. Then he said, "Have a nice day." And then I was past him. I suppose I should have said "That's true" since gay and lesbians do have rights (?).

2) A fervent young man asked, "Do you have a minute to give to Obama and the Democrats?" I said, "No, I don't think I do." For one thing, I didn't see Obama there. I suppose if he personally wanted a minute of my time I would provide it. But I wasn't sure how the fervent young man with a clipboard was going to use my minute. And just asking him would use up most of the minute, anyway. Besides, I am on vacation. I am not giving any moment of this day to any politician or political party. They have more important things to do than spend my minute.