Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Shows

Yesterday was very weird, because for the first hour and a half of the clinic, there were no protesters. Not a one.

Just after the escorts' shift change, a couple of them showed up - the Holy Ghost, Mad Thad. Crazy Legs was out there too, and she was being aggressive. There must have been something going on though, because why weren't they all there? Especially Father Grim, who is always out - I can't remember him ever missing a week.

So that was strange.

I don't really have much to write about - I have about eight hundred things on the go all of a sudden, so it's been kind of hectic in my life. Planning committees. It's good to be busy. Anyway sorry about the shortness of the blog, hopefully next time the protesters will give me something to write about.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

People are Strange, When You're a Stranger...

My job (or rather, my workplace) is kind of bizarre. I mean when you think about the abortion issue a lot, some things start to seem commonplace. But then when you take it out of the context of an abortion clinic, it's like, holy hell that's weird. The weird, almost illegibly religious (it exists) faxes and emails, the strange questions, the inability to do certain normal things. It is a weird work environment.

You think it can't really get any more bizarre, but the protesters are always willing to kick it up a notch. It's hard to describe how they do this, because to the casual observer it's not noticable. As SL was telling me today, it's hardly even worth bothering to talk about the creepiness, because very few people will understand.

It's the signless women - the Holy Ghost and Glarey Mary. Mostly Glarey Mary. It's not that she stares at people - many of the protesters do that - but she really GLARES, with all the hatred and meanness she can muster. She looks...mean. If she glares at you, you can't help but immediately feel as if she hates you, which is just weird. She doesn't even know us, or most of the people she glares at. But the feeling of it is intense. I have never (to my knowledge) been glared at with such vitriol in all my life, nor have most people, I imagine. On an intellectual level, I obviously don't care what Glarey Mary thinks of me, but on an emotional one, it can wear you down. More than one escort has switched from the back to the front, or even come inside for a few minutes, just to experience not being glared at for a while.

Glarey Mary and the Holy Ghost together are trying to do something that Crazy Legs used to do, but more subtly; swarming. Crazy Legs used to run up to people and to cars, and do everything short of getting in the front seat with people in order to block them from entering the clinic. She was loud and obnoxious and awful about it. These two are slower, quieter and creepier, which might just be worse. It's putting the escorts in a situation where they have to do what we used to have to do all the time (before the threat of a bubble zone); put their bodies in between the protesters and the patients. It's all you can do, really.

This return to old techniques on the part of the protesters makes me worry for the physical safety of both my escorts and the patients. Which is exactly the argument behind the bubble zone.

There was more nonsense yesterday - some of the male protesters were riling each other up, in the words of one of the escorts (KR). They were talking loudly about "murder" and saying they hoped "they" (hmm...who could that mean?) lost sleep, and woke up blind, or with boils, and so on. It reminds me of last week (or was it the week before) when one of them told the doctor that he hoped her hands would shake. That is some mean, nasty, old-timey prayer. I'm talking Inquisition-timey prayer. Since when do people pray that bad things will happen to other people? What kind of Christianity is that?

So to sum up, there have been a lot of subtle changes that have made the overall picture seem a lot crazier than it did before. Maybe they're up to something, maybe there's something in the air. Maybe they're just getting frustrated. I thought I'd seen it all that time that Peter Ryan came outside cradling a huge statue of the Virgin Mary in his arms, but every week I start to feel more confident that they are capable of something even stranger. I'm just on the edge of my seat to see what it is.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Warming Up

So, it's been kind of a busy couple weeks, with escorts leaving and new ones coming, just like at the start of every season, it seems. I've been loving the summer at the clinic so far, because the protesters seem to be bringing back all the old favourites. With the exception of the Anger Twins, who I had hoped would be back out now that the semester is over; but then again, maybe they aren't in school at all.

Tuesday's clinic was fine. More middle-aged men than usual (protesting, I mean). A lot of them were really givin' it on the prayers, too, getting all mumbly and worked up. So awesome. They only made one patient cry though, so I guess they'll have to try harder next week.

Patients can be kind of funny sometimes. When they call to confirm their appointments, we run through a checklist of things with them, like don't wear perfume, drink lots of water, etc. One thing we don't tell them is to wear comfortable clothing, since I guess it's really up to them what to wear. To me it's kind of a no-brainer; I mean, it's a doctor's appointment, you know you're going to be up on a table with your vag in the air, why wouldn't you have something comfy to put on while you recover? And while you wait, for that matter. I mean I wouldn't show up in my pyjamas (although some people do), but I would definitely have on some kind of relax-y pants.

So every now and then we get the occasional woman who is dressed totally inappropriately for the doctor's office, or for anything besides the club, really. We had one of those on Tuesday. She breezed in over an hour late (being the last appointment of the day, this was especially annoying), wearing a LOT of perfume (not allowed! thanks), and dressed....well, she was working it. Tight little sweater, tight little shorts (shorts? really?), very high heels, and tons of makeup. Whatever; to each her own, I suppose. It's just kind of funny sometimes. What are people thinking?

The weather is lovely now, by the way. It was a bit cold and gloomy on Tuesday, but I think it should be picking up and the next few weeks will be great for the escorts (and the protesters too, I suppose, although I'm not entirely sure if they notice things like that).

Oh, one more thing, that has nothing to do with abortion. I saw the greatest bumper sticker the other day! It said something like "this car is fueled by the power of prayer". LOVE IT. Although, as the driver of the car I was in snidely pointed out, "I'm pretty sure they have to fill it with gas, too."

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I have to say, I'm glad that people liked the last post and that it got some really good responses. That's why I left it up for so long (also, I'm lazy).

This week at the clinic we had a new fellow out. He was handing out some sort of flyer to the other protesters, and was quite vocal. When the doctor was coming in, he told her he hoped her hands would shake. Charming.

It was kind of a crazy day at the clinic - no particular reason, just one of those days when there's an extra buzz in the air. I had two patients who, along with their entourages of friends and family members, decided they would rather stand around in the vestibule than sit in the waiting room. It was a big pain in the ass, not to mention kind of a safety hazzard (I had to ask them repeatedly to stop standing in front of my little window, because I couldn't see who was at the door). It made me antsy, it made the patients coming in antsy, and it was just an all around nuisance. I probably have to learn to be more assertive - I asked them several times if they'd like to come into the waiting room, but I was being too polite. I need to take some lessons from the nurses and just tell people what to do.

Don't forget that this weekend is the Pill Kills campaign - I know you're all so excited! I don't know if there's any official protests planned for Canada, so maybe you'll just have to travel down to the States to witness the madness. It'll be worth it, I promise - I know you all want one of those super sexy lime green t-shirts.