OPINION: There's nothing that makes me feel worse than having to walk past a kid selling raffle tickets, writes Alana Dixon in Uptown Girl.
Usually I stop and shell out my $2 on my way out of the supermarket - despite, for the record, never having won so much as a single meat pack, but feeling a bit pressured to flick them a measly gold coin when my full trolley is like the proverbial elephant.
But the other day I forgot to take my wallet to work, der, and when I went for a quick walk for some fresh air there was a whole family of little kiddies standing outside one of the kebab places on Esk St, cardboard held aloft.
Given our horrific weather of late, I couldn't have even pulled on my sunglasses in an attempt to "not see them there". I don't think it would have seemed too plausible that I needed to shield my vision from the super-bright hail.
Instead, I had to walk past them all very very quickly and pretend I just didn't hear their little voices, at first hopeful but then resigned, fading away in the background as they pleaded with me to support their bid to go to the aerobics championships or something.
I felt encumbered with guilt all day.
You see, while some people may simply hear "d'you wanna buy a scratchie?", I imagine children selling raffles streetside are actually saying something more along the lines of this:
"Please, please, buy a simple $2 ticket. I need to sell 50,000 of them to be able to achieve my goal to attend science camp. As you're walking past me YOU ARE TRAMPLING ON MY DREAMS. TRAMPLING."
I bit back the urge to turn to them, throw myself on the pavement (it was too wet anyway) and apologise repeatedly.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" I would cry, "Light a candle for me! I do not have so much as tuppence on me. Forgive me."
Sorry, I was just really feeling the Dickensesque vibe there. May have got carried away ever so slightly.
I tried to reassure myself that I actually could not have bought a raffle. I did not, as I have previously mentioned, have tuppence on me. I wasn't like all these other cold-hearted, soulless devils walking past pretending not to hear the pitiful voice of a child begging for somebody to just believe in them.
(From Dickens to corny 1980s children's-sport films. I'm really all over the place today, aren't I? I think I need caffeine. More caffeine. Note to self: start a petition for the boss to install IV lines filled with chai in the office. I'm pretty sure that is a real thing. Another note to self, find out if chai-filled drips are a real thing and, if not, invent that.)
But those kids didn't know that, and that's what made me feel so stink. I plan on going into the bank and asking for all of my savings in coins for the next raffle-seller I see.
Anybody going to a jamboree any time soon?
- The Southland Times