Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Singin' with the Protestors

Last week during my clinic escort shift, I was on a very short fuse. I'm not sure exactly why (perhaps fatigue or stress from moving the previous weekend), but the protestors really got to me and were extremely irritating. I actually yelled back at them several times, which I don't usually do, since normally I can just ignore them or smile cheerfully at them as they preach at me or hurl insults at PPMM.

Luckily, one of my fellow escorts, an older gentleman whose daughter is a clinician for PPMM, was a very calming presence, and he helped me to become a bit more tranquil, especially when he recommended the strategy of "shadowing" the lone protestor. This action consisted of our walking alongside or in front of or behind the protestor as he moved along the sidewalk or ventured out into the street to try to pass his brochures and little plastic fetus dolls to people coming to the clinic. Apparently, our strategy worked quite well, because the protestor called the police to complain that we were impeding his movements. Hah!

When the police arrived, they made a simple incident report and explained that we all needed to give each other same space, since the city ordinance is still currently under injunction and the Council hasn't yet drafted and passed a new one, and that we couldn't block the protestor's path. My escort colleague and I nodded and discussed the situation calmly and tactfully, and I think we really looked good in comparison when the protestor veered off the subject at hand (i.e. walking along the sidewalk) and started spouting, "They're killing babies in there!"

I guess we really riled the lone protestor, and he felt forced to summon reinforcements, because this morning he was joined by three colleagues - two older men, both of whom have been intermittent protestors, and one older woman who quietly recited her rosary and prayed.

Due to the suit brought against the ordinance by two of the protestors, we now know their names: Peter and Harry. So one of my new tactics has been to use their names as often as possible when talking to them (rarely) or about them (frequently) with other PPMM folk while the protestors are in earshot. This morning, for example, I greeted each of them cheerfully as I put on my bright blue PPMM smock. And I also made sure to "introduce" the protestors to our patients as I led the patients to the clinic: "Good morning. How are you today? Oh, these are our protestors, Peter and Harry. They're here on Tuesday mornings, so feel free to say hello to them on your way out." (kudos to E for coming up with this idea last week)

The best part of the morning, however, was when the third gentleman was standing near me and started to sing "Amazing Grace." So I joined in with him on the second line and belted out the song with far more gusto than he did. I think I sort of took the wind out of his sails, because he didn't even attempt a second verse or any other singing for the rest of the morning.

It's great to be able to use their own tactics against them! Hah!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

LNJ said-
Hey Doc, I thought the suggestion to use there names and introduce them to the patients was put out by me while at Clos Peg this weekend? Did I say it or did Mr. E and I am just remembering wrong? Either way, I like that strategy a LOT. Way to go and keep fighting the good fight.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it! Great strategies. Especially singing "his" song with gusto.

-- Tamar

(and thanks for letting me know about your blog)

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, they ARE killing babies in there. Cause otherwise babies would be born, correct? So why get all squemish or offended now about the concept of people calling you baby killer, or God Forbid, upset that people may disagree and protest with your position. It seems to me, logically, you all should be proud to wear that label, given you believe in your position and actions.

12:00 AM  
Blogger jms said...

LNJ - You may have also mentioned the idea at Clos this weekend, but E definitely inspired me first last week when I told him about my icky escort day on Tuesday evening.

Tamar - Thanks for coming to take a look!

Last anonymous comment - I'm quite curious to know who posted this. Anyone willing to claim it?


1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LNJ said-
Mayhap that is how it went, E inspired, I mirrored it this wknd. You would know better than I, as you see E everyday and I don't, so you hear his suggestions out front. E and I were on the same page and that's good enough for me... great minds thinkin' alike and all that. Smiles and such...

3:45 PM  

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