Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Street Corner Blues

There’s a new condo building going up a few blocks from my house. The developer is either:
a) Using non-union labor, or
b) Has failed to make good on past contracts

So he’s being picketed. By a guy in a brown-hooded jacket and sometimes another guy, this one in blue.

I can appreciate their plight. It sucks to not get paid, it sucks to be undercut by cheaper labor. But here’s my quibble: They’re standing on my corner.

This guy—and sometimes his pal—are on my route to pretty much everywhere I need to go. The train station. The produce market. Walgreens. The post office. If I’m particularly inefficient in running errands, I could pass Brown-Hooded Man six times a day.

I took the flyer he thrust in my hand on our first encounter. The problem is, he keeps pressing his list of complaints on me whenever I walk by. What’s the rule here? Do I have to take the piece of paper every single time I’m passing through? I’ve read it, I’ve familiarized myself with his quarrel. I don’t want to appear anti-labor, but I feel my job is done.

My options, as I see them, are limited:
* Avoid BHM by walking a couple of blocks out of my way and circumnavigating his corner
* Stand my ground and walk my usual route, eyes fixed forward, hands shoved into my coat pockets
* Engage BHM in a conversation and explain why I will be refusing the flyer

If this were an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and I were Larry David, I could mine either of these scenarios for comic gold. (Actually, if I were Larry David, I would live in a gated community and never come in contact with picketing construction workers.) But this isn’t funny, it’s annoying.

I want my corner back.


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