I’m rushing to class, already 10 minutes late, dodging slow walkers, people standing around talking on cell phones and crazy skateboarders.
Just as I get past what seems to be the FAU student rush hour in the Breezeway, a girl dressed in a long, ’70s-like hippie skirt and crochet top jumps out in front of me and asks, “Excuse me! Do you have a minute for the environment?”
I start to respond, trying to walk past her at the same time, but she interrupts and holds up to my face a paper with a cartoon of a sad, crying tree.”Our environment is suffering greatly! It needs your help!” she claims. I give her a blank look and finally manage to say, “No. I’m late.” She frowns as I walk off feeling foolish and mean. I should’ve had a better response or, better yet, avoided her altogether.
Later that week, I tried out some pretty well-known people-avoiding tactics, determined to dodge these “green people.”
The first tactic I tried is the most obvious one. I’m sure many of you have used it to avoid that one person you really don’t like talking to.
As soon as I saw the green people, I pretended to get on my cell phone and had a long, deep conversation with myself. I believe the conversation was about me winning the lottery and what I was going to do with the prize money.
This tactic worked, but if you try it, make sure your cell phone is on silent. I made the mistake of keeping my phone on, and just my luck, someone coincidentally called me, blasting my ringtone against my ear and immediately catching the attention of the green people. Embarrassing! They probably dubbed me the crazy who talks to herself. “Just avoid them altogether,” says Kenneth Romero, a freshman economics major. “Those people are really annoying. They’re like your nagging neighbor that always wants to talk to you when you don’t [want to talk to them]. Yes, they’re trying to make a point, but ease up a bit.”
I decided to do as Romero suggested and avoided them altogether. I saw them coming up with their pro-environment signs and quickly tried to make my way to the other side of the Breezeway.
Well, while trying to squeeze through the rushing stampedes, I was shoved, had my toes stepped on, and had someone rather sarcastically exclaim, “Excuse you!” I was starting to think that I wasn’t very good at avoiding people.
After a few bruised toes, I decided that maybe the only way to avoid them was to straight out tell them something snappy but not rude in order to get rid of them. So I headed down the Breezeway once more. I saw them, and they saw me. They immediately put on their biggest smiles and came up to me. There were three of them: two girls and a guy who could barely speak English. “Excuse me! The environment needs a few minutes of your time!” one of the girls shouted. I quickly searched my mind for something good to say. I panicked and blurted out, “Sorry. The environment can do without me. No, thanks.”
Wow. Three responses that didn’t go with their statement at all. They looked at me strangely, and the guy who couldn’t really speak English laughed. Mission failed once again.
After continually attempting to avoid the green people, I grew frustrated. Craving iced coffee, I charged down the Breezeway to Starbucks, and to my non-surprise, I ran into my friends, the green people.”Do you have a minute for the environment?” asked a guy who looked too happy for it to be nine in the morning.”No,” I said through clenched teeth, staring him down. “I’m late.”
I’d had enough of this environmentally friendly crowd. I then turned around and continued making my way toward Starbucks. Just as I was congratulating myself for finally avoiding these people with a simple, honest response, I hear him snicker and say, “A simple ‘no’ would’ve done it.”
More info on STE:
• Save the Everglades (STE) is an environmental advocacy organization.
• STE asks for a $10 donation to become a member for one year ($15 if paying by credit card) and for monthly contributions, which can be as little as one dollar or as much as the donor can give.
• Donors who don’t want to give their credit card numbers can pay the $10 fee with a check.
• To learn more about Save the Everglades, visit their Web site, www.environmentflorida.org.