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Thursday, April 10, 2003

Wearing the Flag


Not having worn a flag pin before I was given one by a group tabling outside the science center today, I was unaware of the opposition those brave souls who wear them receive in Fair Cambridge. One woman, likely much too old to be a student, scowled at me as she saw me walking away and putting on my little pin (about half an inch across), calling me an "imperialist bitch." In the Square, one Spare Change hawker (not Gregory (for you Harvardians, Gregory is the "hellohellohello, hello laaady!" guy), who's wonderful, but someone else) did not believe me when I told him (truthfully) I had bought a copy this morning, but instead pointed at my pin and said, "you just don't like poor people, do you?" Someone else outside the Coop was selling some other newspaper, and by then I was too exhausted to do anything but shake my head and say "no, thanks" to his request for a dollar (which I don't even have, having spent my only dollar on a Spare Change in the morning) for his paper. He then followed me down to the corner, saying, "you're wearing a flag pin. You don't like black people, is that it? huh? that's it, isn't it?" (Reminds me of last summer.) The few people I see who wear (usually larger) flag pins and patches must go through so much more of that -- it's awful. Not having slept much of anything in three days, I decided I wasn't strong enough to stand up to any more such things, so, ashamed of my weakness, I took off my pin.
UPDATE: A suggestion has been made which I quite like: go back to my avoid-foreign-hawkers technique of speaking only German. Even if they can identify the language (after the "they speak Gaelic in San Francisco" and "Parisians are from... Persia" bit on Jay Leno last night, I have my doubts), they likely won't be able to speak it. Works quite well in India, and well might here.

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