Tuesday, May 18, 2004

So after much deliberation I decided to try to live my life for one day by following the edicts of bumper stickers. I figured the easiest one to start with was "Practice Random Acts of Human Kindness". Seems pretty easy. So as I was walking to work through the scenic environs of South of Market I noticed a semi-sane lady crossing the street in front of me. I say semi-sane because after working in this neighborhood (indeed this city) for so many years I've got good "questionable sanity" radar. There's also an Episcopal Sanctuary across the street from my office and this building seems to leak broken toys of a human variety at the same pace as the Exxon Valdez leaked oil into the chilly waters of Alaska (at this point say to yourself in a very toy like high pitched voice, "nobody wants an elephant without a trunk" while picturing an unwashed male of indeterminate ethnic identity holding a bottle of Cisco and singing Xmas carols with his pants around his ankles). Anyway, this woman crossing the street in front of me had on a pair of brand new red Pumas. By red I mean the Puma stripe and soles were red while the rest of the shoe was white. A good looking shoe. So in my initial efforts to try to live by the creedo "Practive Random Acts of Human Kindness" I decided to compliment her on her shoes.

"Nice shoes," I say pointing at her feet.

"You like my shoes?" She says. "You want to buy them? I'll sell them to you cheap."

My first conumdrum had been encountered. I didn't want her shoes. I just wanted to let her know that her wise fashion selection had been appreciated by another person and she should keep-on-keepin'-on-sister (hand held in fist of solidarity here). In order to complete my random act of human kindness I wondered if I was now required to buy the shoes off the womans' feet. I didn't want her shoes. I started to wonder if this was a "teach a person to fish vs. give them a fish" type of scenario with some biblical implication that I wasn't grasping. I certainly couldn't afford to put her through cobbling school and had no idea where to find a cobbler for this woman to apprentice under. I can't be completely sure that this woman knew what a cobbler was (unless she was well versed in desserts and that would produce a whole different conversation with hysterical sitcom like overtones that eventually would lead to a clever pun on Devils Food cake).

So here I was left toe to toe with a woman who wanted to sell me her footwear because I'd complimented her on them. I shudder to think about the position I would have been in had I told her she had nice tits. There was really only one way out of this mess and that was to use the same bumper stick philosophy that got me into it. I said, "shit happens" and moved along.

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