Sunday, May 27, 2007

I Can Mess With Endangered Birds Because I'm a Better Person than You

...or so claimed an annoying yuppie surfer I encountered yesterday morning while monitoring the Least Tern reserve. I politely asked him not to park his bike right in front of the fence facing the ocean (we docents were instructed to try to keep the area clear, since large, unfamiliar objects can stress out the birds). I also did the good parent thing and offered him an equally good alternative: chain your bike to the fence along the paved path at the north end of the reserve, like all the other bikers.

Instead, he sullenly agreed not to chain his bike to the fence around the reserve, but instead passive-aggressively parked it on the sand a foot away from the fence. Thanks, dude.

"People put stuff here all the time at night. I don't see you stopping them."
"Well, we don't have enough volunteers to be here 24/7."
"Say, what are you doing to help homeless people? I volunteer in soup kitchens. What are you doing to help the children? You know my daughter adopted a homeless man last year. She's eight."

In our capacity as badged official volunteers for the California State Parks system, we could only nod politely and walk off. But here are our unofficial, off-the-clock answers:

"Well, good for your daughter! And where does she keep this homeless guy? And what kind of job does she have that pays enough to provide food, shelter, medical care, and job training for an adult in Orange County? And of course, she's so committed to this, out of sheer personal conviction, that she would never sully the experience by say, advertising it on her private prep school applications."

"So you think that contributing a little extra to one segment of society means that rules meant to protect other parts of our world don' t apply to you? Or maybe you think philanthropic acts work like indulgences in the medieval church? Hey, maybe I can get away with double parking and running stop signs because I'M SAVING ENDANGERED BIRDS!!

Whew. Now I feel better.

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