Walking around downtown, it's impossible not to get solicited for something. Money, petition signature, a moment of your time, religious conversion.
Since I've fairly perfected the Don't F--k With Me face, some solicitors don't even bother with me. So I was especially tickled by the unique approach I experienced as I was walking back to the office from Pike Place Market today.
Solicitor Number One has a folding table set up against the building. As I approach, he asks "How would you like to defeat Dick Cheney?" Curious, as the election is well past over. I keep walking without the slightest acknowledgement of his presence.
Solicitor Number Two is standing several feet further up the sidewalk, next to the curb. As I approach, he points behind me and asks, "What do you think it takes to build one of those cranes?"
Ah, deftly done, but no dice. Solicitor Number Two was clearly banking on the assumed politeness of the nicely-dressed thirty-something female office worker with his innocuous question. Once snagged, the conversation would surely have swiftly turned to one Mr. Richard Cheney.
I'm sure that many people (primarily women) would have anwered his question, not wanting to, heaven forbid, appear rude. I have no such problem. I feel no obligation to strangers whatsoever, other than not tripping them, running over them with my car, cutting in front of them in line, or dropping litter on the ground (I don't like to look at other people's litter, why should they look at mine). I'm sure I have a few other stranger-related rules in there somewhere, but Must Talk To Any Stranger Who Talks To Me First is so not one of them.