Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Just Say "No"

I know that lying is really wrong and it can get you into a lot of trouble; but there is one lie that I have said a few times because to not say it brings on worse dilemmas. I only say it with one word and only in front of libraries. It might sound bizarre, but that one little “white” lie keeps me from arguments or feelings of stupidity and I think makes it worth whatever punishment I will receive in the hereafter.

Here, I’ll talk you through it since I am approaching the library and once again there is a person sitting out by a little table and under an umbrella soliciting signatures for I don’t know what. I know what she’s going to ask me, though, even before she opens her official mouth. And I have my answer ready.

“Are you a registered voter in Arizona?” she asks as I know she will. It is a simple question that requires a very simple answer. The problem will come when I answer truthfully with a “yes”, because then she’ll ask me to sign something that I don’t want to sign. “Would you sign this petition for candidate A?” she’ll ask. And I’ll answer, “No, I’d rather not.” Then she’ll say, “You don’t have to vote for this candidate. Your signature will just help him get on the ballot.” Then I’ll have to say, “Well, I need to talk to my husband because he’d rather not have my name associated with certain candidates.” Then she just has to ask, “You mean you can’t think for yourself?” And then I have to glare at the solicitor and slink into the library fuming a bit until I pick up my “On Hold” books and come back out, hoping she won’t accost me again.

Once in front of the Mesa Library on Dobson, I was asked by a young man, who seemed a little “high”, if I was a registered voter. When I answered in the affirmative, he asked me to sign a petition legalizing marijuana. “Absolutely not!” I answered and almost stamped my foot, which I am really pretty good at. He jeered and made me feel like I had to defend my position with a few personal experiences, which I did. They didn’t faze him, however, and I was left with a feeling of irritation. I had my own druggie to deal with at home and didn’t need to be confronted by another one. I hate to argue and I am lousy at it even when I feel strongly about something.

Perhaps the solicitor today will ask me to sign a petition to protect the spotted owl or to remove a public official or to save the water tower on Broadway. Then I will have to say that I really don’t know how I feel about that particular concern and I’d rather not sign anything until I am better informed. Then she’ll try to inform me and I really don’t have the time or the inclination for a lecture on whatever it is she needs my signature for.

I’ll go home and ask my husband, Brad, his views on the subject and I’ll probably agree with whatever he says. He’s the one who spends time studying the issues and determining which side to be on. I pay the bills and he tells me how to vote. We have job-sharing at our house.

I already know—so you don’t have to tell me—that I am not a very good citizen since I don’t study the issues myself and develop a few opinions of my own. I know, I know. My Mom used to urge me to at least read the editorial page of the newspaper so I could find out what other people think about what’s going on in the world. But I already have so many interests, so many, many things I want to do. Studying current events just never makes it to the top of my to-do list. And Brad keeps me informed on what matters.

So to the solicitor’s question, “Are you a registered voter?”, although I am so grateful to be an American and a registered voter at that, I wish I could answer in fluent Swedish, “I am sorry but I am from Sweden”, which wouldn’t be a lie at all if you go back far enough.

But until I am able to do that flawlessly, I will give my pat answer: “No.”

And now I can proceed into the library, smiling and unencumbered—albeit a little guilty.


AliceK[i]ND said...

I am SO with you on this one. I hate being in that situation. I take a different approach though.... I just avoid eye contact and ignore them completely and walk right on by. Wearing dark sunglasses helps. You can also pretend to be digging around in your purse for something, or be looking at your cell phone. Then you don't have to lie, or say anything at all. :)

Tami Allred said...

This post is so funny and well written. I think you really should learn Swedish.
I just say no thanks and keep walking. I hate that guilt feeling.
What about the pan handlers? I feel the same way.
When we go downtown to Chicago we get asked all the time, so I finally gave my kids a buck each and tell them pick one, you can't help them all and don't need to feel guilty about the situation.

Juliepoolie said...

I always love your posts. Your writing style is very engaging and fun! Thanks!

Ileva said...

I love this! I have had this happen several times - and I can honestly look them in the eye and say.. No! :) I guess it comes with being from New Zealand and not having Citizenship yet?