I told you I needed money, right?  And that I was aggressively going to fundraise this upcoming week, remember?  Well, that’s exactly what I did over the weekend.

For the non-Cincinnatians out there, we have this really awesome thing called Findlay Market, which is part farmer’s market and part community center.  They let you set up fundraisers if you are part of a non-profit (which I am because of SustainUS).  And I did.

With no offence intended towards the good folk at Findlay Market, it really wasn’t an experience worth repeating.  First you have to show up before 8 am, or else risk missing out because it’s first-come, first-serve.  You’re pretty much required to stay there till 6pm.  And that’s not a criticism–believe me, that’s the good part!

I put up large signs explaining what I was doing and asked people for contributions as they came over to my booth (which happened to be my mom’s old card table with a keffiyah covering some of the ravages of time).  I don’t really have anything to sell, so I mixed up some old henna for tattoos, and also offered to write folks names in Arabic on pretty paper.  And you would not believe how openly derisive some people were about this!  I’M JUST A KID OKAY?  I’M SHOWING INITIATIVE BY ATTENDING A U.N. CONFERENCE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY AND FINDING A METHOD TO RAISE THE MONEY TO GET THERE.  That’s exactly why this country’s in trouble: too many people have taken to mocking the American spirit of multiculturalism and entrepreneurialism!

Findlay Market is not located in some quiet countryside locale.  It’s right in the middle of the city, in Over-the-Rhine (kind of a rough neighborhood formerly known for its gang violence).  You meet a lot of interesting people.  One woman was pushing along a fake baby in a stroller and insisted on signing my petition in gibberish.  Another woman refused to support me, apparently because I hadn’t devoted my life to stopping abortions.  If only she had understood that I was trying to help stop humans from aborting THE EARTH (I was very insulted).  One man actually molested me (Oh my GOD!  I’m not even going to discuss the incident here).

On both days, I left at 3:15, unable to drag the day out another 3 hours.  For my efforts, I made a combined total of $42.68. 

Well, I’m starting to make it sound like Hell.  Which it maybe was, but what made it tolerable was the children.  The kids always notice the pretty things you are selling.  They always come over and say, Ooh, how neat!  They are proud of their reading abilities, and actually read the signs I put up.  I didn’t have to tell any of them, “No, I’m not FROM Copenhagen; I’m travelling there” (which I DID have to tell the adults).  Kids don’t proselytize, nor do they molest.  The only problem is that, unfortunately, they are nearly always accompanied by one or more adults who don’t generally notice or care what their kids are interested in (the ones who do probably spoke to me this weekend and are reading this blog!).

This is the best part: at one point, three kids came over and contributed a dollar because they really wanted to help out–and I tell you, that dollar is to me worth as much as the other forty two combined.  When I watch the dumb crap  that people do to each other (like the antics I put up with this weekend, for instance, or privileged frat boys who come to Copenhagen for an all-expenses paid party session while I’m out busting my @$$ to get the funds to go in the first place!), I have to ask myself if humanity’s existence on this earth is even worth saving.  Then three kids give me a dollar, and I know it’s worth it. 

It’s funny how such small symbolic gestures can have such a profound impact on our lives, beliefs, and motivations.