Tumbln at Starbucks while my crewmates of the day share their love for “the POWER” (of God), googling and citing scripture in a riveting argument over the righteousness and/or wrongness of each denomination’s baptism procedure, punctuated by different shout-outs to their main man Jesus (or is it God or the Holy Spirit? Or are they actually all the same… Fuck if I know. I’m at Farragut North please God someone come save me).
The sun peels the skin off the back of my neck. My clip board tends to bruise my hip. My feet always hurt. I smile as genuinely as I can as a new horde of people cross the street.
Everyone has very creative responses to my little introductory spiel: “Hi, how are you? Do you have a minute to help fight hate groups today?”
1. The smart-ass: Usually sporting a crew cut and/or baseball cap. In response to my smiley question they will answer with a hilarious “I love hate groups!” or, even better, an enthusiastic “sure dude!” as they waltz on past with a smug grin. Their girlfriends just look down, gigglingly embarrassed but impressed with their boyf’s audacity.
2. The Bethesda bitch: Oh really, is my question “frankly, annoying?” Sorry to inconvenience you, please proceed to sit outside the Georgetown Cupcake to my right with your friend for the next THREE HOURS talking about different guys who “are so chill,” who “are actually kind of sweet” and who “[probably won’t give a fuck about you until you get that nose job you’ve been saving up for]!” You know what doesn’t seem annoying to you at all? The exponential proliferation of racist and anti-gay hate groups in this country! LOL!!!!! Enjoy your cupcake.
3. The tourists: “Sorry, we’re kind of in a hurry” We have to slowly zig-zag our way around this whole fucking block, twice, looking for the National Postal Museum before stopping to refill our Camelbacks in the McDonald’s and re-tying our running shoes. These cargo pants aren’t going to break themselves in, now. “Can you point us in the direction of a Ruby Tuesday?”
4. The closet Neo-Nazis: “You’re the one in a hate group! You hate white people! You only love Jews and blacks and gays! Are you working for Obama? This is the heart of our country, get out of here! What are you lookin’ at boy? What are you anyways? Spanish? Are you illegal??”
To which I say “Alright, have a great day!” and get ready for the next passerby.