Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Glance Away, Quick, Glance Away

A teenage friend was in our town selling red heart pins to raise funds for his school. Some folks bought one knowing it was for a good cause. Then there was everyone else. They dashed across the street just so they didn't have to walk by.

They pretended not to see him: "Anything on sale in the shop window?" A parody of bad acting.

To test a theory, our friend moved to a spot between two buildings separated by nothing but a blank wall. Putting on his most engaging smile, he continued calling for people to help support the local school.

Up came a middle-aged man with eyes lost in the land of middle-aged thoughts. As he approached, he focused briefly on my friend and quickly looked away, staring intently at---the wall. There was no shop, no other people, not even a sign. But that didn't matter. The wall would do.

He went by, joining a growing group of people too busy and too apathetic to offer 50 cents for an always under-funded, forever under-staffed part of our lives.

The recent and continued exodus of teachers helps emphasize what too many governments don't want to fix. Whether in Dublin or Mayo, the problem is certainly the same. "Don't bother me," some people seem to say. "It's my money."

But watch out, for the mirk of hell doth rise when I find you're not spending enough to teach my kid.


  1. It probably just stems from being harrassed by too many street sellers working for charities. We've even had lots of them call to the door. I have no problem with this practice, it's an excellent way for charities to get regular donations, I just feel bombarded by too many of them. That's where your teenage friend loses out, we're all so sick of being harassed, we boycott them all.

  2. Actually, I boycott them all too and make donations direct to charities instead. I do support local school fairs also (great places for 2nd hand books). To be honest am sick of being asked for spare change all the time. Have been approached 5 times already today. Can understand your friend's frustration as Im sure lots of people are just plain scabby.

  3. I'm with Ash, and to a greater extent Mossie on this one At. Walk down any major street in the city and you get bombarded with requests for help from charities. Years of that can change your attitude for the worse unfortunately.

    I do the "direct pay" thing too but then my eye gets caught and I invariably drop coins into the box too. The kids love doing it so I usually shuttle them over instead.

  4. I don't always drop money in the box (tho we're teaching the Little Boy to be kind and we give him coins for it), but I do always ALWAYS look them in the eye, smile, and say 'No, thank you.' It's beyond rude to fully ignore someone, and after doing a job like this one day (10 hours, on my feet at 8 months pregnant), I know that for a fact!!

    A little kindness goes a long way.