"Be there at 7:30" I'm told. That's where the action is.
It's early Saturday morning in Passaic, NJ. It's January and I'm bloody freezing.
I'm standing on the street corner in my black trench coat getting ready to ply my wares. Besides me is a sister holding some tracts in her hands. Sisters outnumber us three to one. Not many brothers want to do street work. But I have to get my time in.
We're getting ready to work the streets. My hands are so cold I can barely hold the magazines.
There's about a dozen of us out on Main Street.
I can't speak a word of Spanish but this sister can and she babbles away to random strangers and leaves them Panda tracts. I stand there not understanding a word of what she's saying. All I can think about is the nearest Dunkin Donuts.
We start at one end of the street and dutifully walk to the other end before crossing the road and going back down. The residents are mostly Spanish - Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and some Mexican's. They don't pay much attention to us.
For some unknown reason, Randy Crawford's lyrics from Street Life come into my head. I mentally swap "Life" with "Work" and make a few other mods and it seems to make sense: "I play the street work, because there's no place I can go, street work, it's the only way I know, street work, I placed a 100 mags today, Now I've played my life away."
I have some Spanish literature and hand it out to strangers who pass us by. They must think we're a weird lot.
In half an hour I've placed all my magazines at the laundromat and the sister working with me shows no signs of slowing down.
Finally it's 8:30 and we meet up with the rest of the car group.
"Does anyone want to get coffee before the meeting for field service?"
We're 5 mins away from Dunkin Donuts.
Due to the cold weather the line is short.
"I'd like a hot latte with extra sugar please" I say to the girl at the counter. I skip the donut. I don't like eating in other people's cars. Especially one covered in powdered sugar.
The hot cup warms my hands. I look at the clock. It's 9am. The day has barely begun. I think I've got at least an hour and a half in and placed 20 magazines. At least the people in the laundromat will have something to read.