Saturday, June 23, 2007


When is a pick up not a pick up?

When it's a pyramid scheme.

So, there I was, minding my own business, enjoying the long summer day, sitting on the astro-turf green in downtown Silver Spring. I have my laptop on my lap, I'm cruising the internet using the free local wifi, but mostly I'm watching the kids, families and teenagers romp through this amazing open space and enjoying the view.

A semi-hippy looking dude--long hair in pony tail, two earrings (one a yin-yang symbol) in one ear, a close-cropped beard--sits near me and asks me about the computer. "Are you getting wifi?"


"Where's it from?"

"I think it's from the town--it's a free service."

"Oh. I have this mac but I'm not a mac person. But you have a mac, so it'll work with a mac, right?"

"It should work."

He pulls out his computer, a Powerbook from the same generation as mine (I have an iBook). "How old do you think this is?"

"It's about the same age as mine…so maybe three years or so. Actually, I had a Powerbook, but it was stolen. This is what I replaced it with."

"You're not Katie Smith, are you?"

"No." I wondered--how did he get that computer?

Then he talked and talked about all kinds of things from how kids are having kids to the path of the ICC. I engaged with him at first but then resorted to smiling and nodding as it became clear he that he had no facts, no logic, and not much intelligence.

I wondered if he were going to ask for my number. What would I do? Give him a wrong number? Politely decline to give him any number? Say I had a boyfriend (hate that lie)? Say I just started seeing someone (hey, it might turn out to be true!)? Hope I could get away before he asked?

He changed the subject, again, and this time it was about a Japanese company that was the "equivalent of Johnson and Johnson, but all natural, all organic and all highly engineered." He went on and on about the fabulous products--the green tea extract, the NASA foam mattress, the magnets! Did you know that the magnets cure limping dogs? And there's no placebo effect (my words) with dogs! Then he said the words that really caught my attention, "I admit it's a pyramid scheme…"

I started to plan my escape. He wasn't pausing very often so it was hard to leave without being rude. I waited for the pause. When it finally came, I said, "I have to hit the road…" I stood up to leave.

"Would you like a card?"

"Sure," I said, and accepted a card-shaped printed piece of normal weight paper. And I turned and left.

I felt a tad foolish for thinking I was getting hit on. I was getting hit up by someone who thought I looked like a good mark! Astonishing, but just as well. I don't have time for any more boys, especially stupid annoying ones.

Grateful for: escape.

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