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Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Day I Became Persona Non Grata with the Girl Scouts

The year was 1997 or 98, I had graduated from college with an Associates in Industrial Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and no one would hire me.  There were no interviews.  I was surviving on temp agency assignments, face painting, coffee barista, dish washing, etc.  My goal was to save enough money to move to Florida to continue my degree with the eventual hope of getting a job in my chosen field.

AIP had a book filled with art commissions, people from the local community would call in when they needed an artist for face painting and such.  I pounced on the girl scout lead with much excitement.  They were planning an event at a local school gymnasium for all Pittsburgh girl scout chapters.  It was to be a day of festivities that included face painting.  They needed two so I quickly found a partner and committed to the date.  Prior to this I had been face painting at the Pittsburgh Pirates Stadium so I felt sufficiently ready to take on the girls.

Nothing could have prepared me for the energy and deafening noise.  There must have been over two hundred girls - and two face painters!  Every one of them wanted to be painted and they were - I hate to say it, kinda bratty.  It didn't matter, we pressed on until every last girl was painted.  There were no breaks.  No lunch.  Just non stop painting.  They were relentless.  No one came to check on us until the very end when checks were handed out.  We were asked if we'd ever like to do this again and of course we said yes.

Suddenly the girl scouts disappeared and there was only leaders left to clean up the carnage.  We noticed a giant balloon display and asked if we could take it home.  They said yes.  We took it down the hill to our car but it wouldn't fit, so we had the sudden inspiration to let it go!  Just as we were about to let the giant balloon bunch fly free, a women came running down the hill screaming at us to NOT LET THE BALLOONS GO, something about killing animals, death to the environment, etc.  Shamefaced, we lugged the balloons back up the hill and into the gymnasium.

We were never invited back.

Dear Girl Scout Leaders,
I still buy your cookies and I've never released a balloon, on purpose, ever again!  Also, I'm kinda glad you never called back.  My head still hurts from all the noise.

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