Working in the West End is great. It’s easy to meet friends for lunch, there’s hundreds of choices for having drinks, going to movies, going to gigs, theatres, restaurants, shops, post offices, banks, cash machines, yadda yadda.
My office is moving to Shoreditch in April. Not the actual building – that would be stupid. My venerable employer will be re-locating to new premises. This suits me fine. Shoreditch is ok, it’s close to where I live, and most importantly, I’m not going to be walking through Trafalgar Square every day. It’s wrecking my karma!
This morning, there was a team of 15 women all dressed as sticks of chewing gum. Their colour scheme was green and white, and they were handing out huge stickers with something like ‘Bin me, don’t drop me’ printed on them.
I did my best to carve a path through them that put me out of arms reach, avoiding the need to engage with them verbally by using my headphones for cover and saying ‘no, thank you’ like a mantra.
I thought I’d escaped unscathed, but just as I reached the bottom of Whitcomb street, some minty Stickerbitch ran up and stickered me good! I have a limit, friends. Instinct kicks in, animal reactions take over. ‘Fuck… …OFF! I plead as I remove the sticker with a flourish, noting that once again, a campaign to stop people doing something causes me far greater levels of inconvenience than the undesirerable act itself.
I briefly entertain the thought of newspaper headlines like “3 month sentence for man who went on spitting chewing gum onto pavement rampage after being assaulted with adhesive waxed paper”
How did this happen? One minute I’m listening to ‘Abbey Road’, smiling at strangers, thinking cheery thoughts about the entertaining enterprises of my friends, and the next I’m visualising myself engaged in acts of littering on a sociopathic scale.
Fuck you, Stickerbitch! Now I’m thinking bad thoughts. Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character. I’m going to become the kind of person who spits chewing gum on the pavement just to spite people like you. Every time an old grannie gets chewing gum on her shoes, it’ll be me scoring one over Stickerbitch. It’s no way to live.
It’s the same with Chuggers. I never know what to say to them. ‘No, thank you’ doesn’t work, as they’re not offering you a service, they’re asking you for something.
‘Leave me alone’ is too melodramatic. What, were you working on the Grand Unified Theory of Matter while you were walking down Long Acre? No you weren’t – you were mentally rating the girls who were walking past you out of ten, so shut the fuck up, cough up some loot and give those kiddies in Great Ormond Street some hope.
‘Not today’ is lame, as it implies that on any other day, you’d be keen on signing up. Not true, in fact, a blatant lie.
Stopping to provide an honest explanation of how your lack of interest in signing up with them on the spot for a monthly direct debit with their employer does not mean you have a generally uncharitable outlook on life, and that you make your own donations to charity in your own time is tediously pompous.
Unfortunately, this leaves complete blanking as the only practical solution. This isn’t cool. Blanking isn’t silence. It’s pretending someone else doesn’t exist. La La La, I can’t hear you! You’re not a real person, fuck off, leave me alone.
So what do you say to chuggers to minimise karmic damage, people? Help!