One thing Santa Monica is notable for, or should be if it's not, is the large homeless population. And a good many of those homeless folks supplement their income by begging, so it's normal to be accosted by people asking for change or one or five or twenty dollars. But I don't have a problem with that; this post isn't complaining about them. No, it's complaining about the odd people, also numerous, who accost you not for money but to tell you things and ask you questions and just generally be annoying.
There's one crew that hangs out onthe Promendade who's goal in life is to show you this little laminated card and ask you which of the vaguely religious questions printed on it you find the most interesting. What happens beyond that I have now idea, because I've neevr suffered them to detain me any further, but that alone is plenty annoying. Especially since most of the folks involved in this project are not what you'd call native speakers of English. Well, I don't know if that makes it more annoying or less. But it is true, in any case. Today I was out on the Promenade for about half an hour and was approached three times, twice by the same guy, and twice when I was sitting down reading a book! That's just not called for. Leah was complaining about the whole thing the other day and I argued they weren't that bad; but now I have to say: yes, yes they are.
So I don't have any idea what they're up to, but just now writing this I had an idea. Maybe, could it be, they're in on a project designed to demonstrate the silly, annoying side of historical American and English missionary efforts in non-English-speaking countries. We've all heard about the horrible evil parts, to great and indeed (in some cases) ahistorical length, but The Poisonwood Bible to one side the ridiculous doesn't get as much of a look in. But when you think about folks trying to expain existential concepts in a language of which they have only the faintest grasp, well, humor and annoyance alike are sure to result.