Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday night fever.

I went down to the basement yesterday to re-measure my home office for tax purposes, and discovered that the utility room was full of water. The pipes were covered in condensation and the hot water heater was leaking all over the place. Which just figures because our "service plus" dude was just here on Friday to give the furnace its yearly once-over. What in the hell did he do to the water heater? I spent like 1.5 hours not getting electrocuted while I shop-vac-ed the water and detritus and then I flushed the hot water heater. At least I know how to do that now. I asked the internet how, obviously.

Then like a moron I turned everything back on in hopes that I had fixed the problem, and an hour later I was mopping the floor again. Instead of sucking up the water (emptying the shop vac every 5 minutes is a pain in the ass), I engineered a very low-tech solution that involved using a scrap of vinyl baseboard to guide the water alongside a hose down to the drain. Then I drained the stupid heater again. We're using cold water until tomorrow.

So that was an exciting break from doing my taxes.


I started off the day right, serving as a clinic escort downtown for the first time. There were three others on duty, two men and another woman that I trained with. I think I mentioned this before, but this particular clinic isn't targeted for quite the same level of harassment as some of the others in town because it's not in a freestanding building and it's right on the light rail line, like, the tracks are just one lane away from the entrance. So I think it's hard for anti-choicers to coordinate large-scale protests there: they can't surround the building, and there's no parking lot for them to fill up.

Still, there's always one guy there handing out literature and yelling at women as they walk into the clinic. He seems like a decent enough person--his yelling doesn't involve any invective, though it's obviously invasive and obnoxious, and he actually seems like he just wants to connect with people. Also, he dresses like Kenny from South Park. The other anti who shows up regularly is more of the type to call you a baby killer, and she totes a big sandwich board in addition to a bag o pamphlets. She stations herself right by the entrance to the nearest parking lot, so that she can attack people who walk from the lot to the clinic. Two of our escorts stayed close to the lot and walked patients and their friends/partners to the clinic. The anti followed them right up to the entrance every time.

So I think that's how it goes most Saturdays, but there was a little bit of drama yesterday. A youngish guy walking down the opposite side of the street saw our blazing yellow "Clinic Escort" vests and called over "hey, is that like a Planned Parenthood type thing?" and we told him yes, something like that. Then the South Park guy, Charlie, told him that there's a vigil at Planned Parenthood in Highland Park on Good Friday and the young dude asked for clarification. "You mean in support of the women?" and Charlie said "supporting the women by telling them they don't need to make this choice," and the dude was like, seeya. Shortly after that, a patient came up to the entrance and Charlie started in on her, "look at your ultrasound, you don't need to do this, if you say no it can't happen" and the other dude turned around from way up the block and yelled "DON'T TALK TO HER LIKE THAT." They got into it. But it was over quickly, and a few minutes later Charlie said to us, "I suppose I should have told him that there's also a group for the other side at Planned Parenthood. But if he's meant to be there, he'll find out." Poor old Charlie also had a cigarette flicked at him by a patient's partner later that morning. Normally he'd call the cops for something like that, but didn't have his cell phone.

Most of the patients ignore the antis pretty successfully. Or they take the proffered "literature" and say "thanks" vaguely, then chuck it as soon as they get inside. You see anti-choice pamphlets blowing across the empty light rail tracks. One woman being followed by an anti bawled all the way up the sidewalk, saying "you're making it worse." Another woman told the antis "I already have kids" and upon being told "you'll think of your baby every Easter," snorted "no I won't" as she went in the door.

I was glad to be there. I wasn't sure I'd be good at this because idiots piss me off so much, but you focus on the patients, and you brush off the rest.

Then I went to Neimann Marcus and bought two pairs of pants in the outlet.


More karaoke last night. I checked three more things off my list: "You Know I'm No Good," "Me and Bobby McGee" (one of my sister Molly's standards), and "Alone." I did "Another One Bites the Dust" first, but the track was a terrible version, one that didn't even include the second half of the song. A bummer. But the Amy Winehouse is totally going to be my new karaoke warmup. "Alone" was one of those songs I wasn't completely convinced I could sing without going all operatic, but my friend Leah and I ended up closing the place with it. We met in choir in high school, so we are quite used to singing in harmony together. I was Ann and she was Nancy, and there were high fives all around. Also some drunk older guy who is opening a new tattoo shop gave us his card and showed us all of the tattoos on his arms that had been inked by legendary artists, and I persuaded him to go sing so that he would maybe drape himself across someone else's table afterward. Still, it's always nice to hear "you rocked that shit" from pretty much anyone.


  1. You rocked that escort shit, lady. I need to see what escort opportunities are available here and get on that.

  2. So glad the clinic escorting is working out and that the anti community at your clinic is relatively toothless. I have a low tolerance for idiots too, but I'm glad some people can and do deal with them.

    I want to see you do karaoke! You're that person who intimidates everyone else in the room because you actually sing, aren't you? Which means I would never follow you, but I would love to be cheering you on.

  3. Whatever! Being a pro classical singer most def does NOT automatically translate into being good at karaoke. I've had to work hard not to sound like a warbling asshole.

  4. I am fist-bumping you through the computer screen...I had no idea one could sign up to be a clinic escort, and I think you ROCK EVERLASTING for doing it!

    There are people staking out our Planned Parenthood office all the time now. They seem pretty peaceful, walking up and down with "Pray to End Abortion" signs and sometimes reading the Bible or praying the rosary. I try not to hate on them too hard because I grew up Catholic and so I kind of get that they believe they are doing the right thing...but seriously. Let's make a hard situation even harder, shall we? Or scare off women who may be going there for preventative care so they DON'T need an abortion. Bah. Makes me insanely cranky.

    I have been thinking about taking donuts and coffee to the staff one day, because walking past protestors every day while the government argues over whether or not to defund your job has got to be beyond demoralizing.

  5. Fair enough. And being a classically trained dancer doesn't mean you can dance like the cool kids, so I feel you there.

  6. What a week! It's so fantastic that you're working as a clinic escort--that has to be nerve-wracking at times. I'm always inspired by what you do.

  7. You rocked it all, actually. Draining a water heater twice and dealing with water in the basement is a huge ordeal, I happen to know. The clinic stuff is hardcore and takes serious guts. You're a badass and I am inspired.

  8. I wish I could have come, but was alas, corralling Girl Scouts. Hopefully next time I can come and cheer for you guys in the bar (since I no longer sing in public. In fact, I only sing now when I'm nude. In the shower. And come to think of it, perhaps the nudity/singing connection isn't the best thing.....)

    Rock on with the PP work. I'm so proud of you for doing that!

  9. Heroic work, on all fronts. Proud of you, lady.
    The most heroic act I have managed in my little backwater is displaying the "Jesus Would Slap The Shit Out of You" magnet in the kitchen : (

    I need to get on that.
    That escort business is seriously worthwhile work, and I thank you for it.