But, this year I joined the California Writers Club, which has a pretty big presence at the fair, and I thought it might be fun to help out the club. It helped that my friend Tina was going to do so as well.
And Saturday at noon, there we were handing out flyers at the main entrance to the fair. Not being a very outgoing person, it was a little hard at first. The only instruction I had was to not give them out to everyone. So I had to decide how to narrow down the prospects to those with at least some interest. Which meant either some kind of mind reading, or something verbal. I tried to catch people's eyes first, and then say a few words to catch their attention.
I've always had a thing about catching people's attention, looking them in the eyes. The eyes are the windows to the soul, and all that. So I got to stand there and look hundreds of people in the eyes. Got to catch that quick connection. I'd say about half of the people would meet my gaze with something like interest or curiosity. Like who is this guy standing there and what is he doing?
It was great fun just "meeting" all those people, if even for just a few seconds.
Then I had my chance to communicate with those who made eye contact. I knew I had only a few seconds to get the job done. I started out with something like "Would you like a schedule of Fine Arts and Literary events?" Say that a few dozen times and see how it doesn't just roll off the tongue.
It was a wonderful learning experience. I've heard that you have to do something about 10,000 times to become an expert. Well, I didn't meet 10,000 people, but over those two days, probably got to practice my technique on several hundred people at least. By the end of the second day, based on people's reactions, I had refined my "pitch" to "Music, Art & Poetry Schedule?" That seemed to work best. Also developed a way of getting the flyer into their hands quickly enough so that they didn't need to break stride, and so that I could recover quickly enough to catch the next person.
It was quite warm the first day, and actually hard work standing there, on the tarmac, in the full sun for two hours. I got a bit of a sun burn. The next day was actually a bit cool and very windy.
I am so glad I was able to do this. It's actually the first volunteering I've done in many years, and it felt good on a lot of levels. I think my next volunteering might be for the local Green Party. We'll see.
Thanks for reading. Stay warm, Be kind. Do Good.