I normally don't smile very much, so I was worried, that I wouldn't smile at people. Who wants to hug the frowning guy? I feel like I've been smiling non-stop for the past 8 hours. My face is sore.
I showed up about an hour before the angry man said he would be there. I wanted to avoid making it seem like I was only there to oppose him. I walked to my post and held up my sign. About three seconds later a guy walks up and gives me a hug. I was hugged by a guy on a unicycle. I was hugged by about five people at once. And for every person that hugged me, ten walked by and smiled. It was those people that made this day amazing.
When the angry man showed up his wife looked at me and said, "The same demon spirit on every campus, free hugs. Why don't you hug Jesus?"
This made me very happy. Firstly because I got a response. I was hoping that they wouldn't just ignore me, though I would have had a great day even if they never showed up. Also because it means that people have had the same idea as me. These hate-mongers go to campuses around the country, and at those campuses, someone doesn't just yell at them, or ignore them, but actually takes productive action.
After the angry folk had been there a few minutes, someone from Student Life shows up and tells me I have to go to their other free speech zone, because this one is reserved by the religious nuts (well, she doesn't use that term, but you get the idea). Of course the other free speech zone doesn't have the same foot traffic, and foot traffic is necessary to my cause.
Fortunately there was a student organization fair nearby, so I asked the Peace and Justice group if I could go stand by them. Interestingly, though there was more people, I got less hugs. Even the number of people that smiled decreased. After thinking about it (one of the few pastimes a free hugger has other than smiling and hugging) I figured it out. All of the booths around me, made people pay less attention. They just wanted to walk by without someone handing them a flyer they wouldn't read, or try to make them sign something. Many people just didn't see me. Those people that did assumed I was part of a club. They wondered what I was trying to make them think or believe by giving out free hugs. A crowd had begun to form around the angry people, so I decided to relocate.
I stayed across the path from them, only occassionaly crossing over to get free hugs from the hecklers/spectators. After awhile I decided to be a bit more bold with my free hugging. The angry guy had already refused a free hug, but his wife had not. She was talking at the moment, so I walked over and asked her if she would like a free hug.
She told me it would be innappropiate for her to hug anyone other than her husband. She then went on to say that Jesus that would not go around giving out free hugs. I told her I thought he would, and she started quoting bible verses. But I plan to combat her. I have some bible verse of my own.
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.
And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.
And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.
Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.
I may have someone else read these, so I can maintain my lack of confrontation. I won't be able to stay for as long tommorow, as I did today. (I was there for over 8 hours today) But if one person walks by and smiles, then my effort is worth it.