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.