A few minutes ago on the sidewalk outside Buckley Towers here in Manhattan, I was approached by a young woman wearing a hijab and carrying a clipboard. There are not very many prejudices that I am conscious of indulging, and I do try to make an effort to scrub them out. But there is one prejudice to which I am committed, to which I cling, and intend to cling, with all the bitter clinginess I can muster.
I despise people carrying clipboards on the street.
Clipboard-bearers are a plague in New York, as they are in most cities. For some reason, our particular stretch of Midtown is very thoroughly covered by gay-rights campaigners. NR World HQ shares a building with what I take to be a rather conservative Jewish college and is just down the street from Opus Dei’s U.S. headquarters, making this one of the more conservative blocks in a city without many conservatives. I’ve always suspected that the gay-rights people would have better luck just across the street, in front of the New York Design Center, but apparently the pickings are attractive on our side of the street. The gay-rights clipboard brigade is fairly inoffensive; the more aggressive and annoying ones are the boycott-Israel clods and the dodgy donations-for-the-homeless/children/unicorns operators. Those are clipboards you really want to avoid.
I mentally prepared myself to heap scorn upon whatever cause this particular clipboard-bearer was planning to try to sign me up for, which I do on principle; even if by some astronomically slim odds I was approached by somebody bothering me about a cause I support, I’d still be inclined to give them grief. You may be flying my colors, but if you’re accosting people on the sidewalk with a clipboard, you are not on my team.
In the event, the lady desired my assistance on one of the few subjects with which I am happy to help even a clipboard-bearer: She wanted directions to Macy’s. Happy shopping — just so long as you’re not shopping for a new clipboard.