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The Thin… Erm… Neon Green Line

July 13, 2010

This past week-end, Moose and I had ourselves a nice quiet week-end in.  We were supposed to go to a friend’s birthday party, but when we got home to take a nap after going to see “Despicable Me,” our hour long nap turned into passing out for five hours.  We slept through the alarm on his phone, and when the alarm went off on my phone several hours later, I went “Oh god, it’s 9 o’clock!”  and Moose went “So?” and rolled over.  I think we needed the sleep.

I also went out to escort on Saturday.  I wanted to get a picture of the protesters for my 365 Project album and I was having trouble sneaking the pictures.  I kept getting the driveway, as opposed to the people.  I eventually worked out how to hold my phone so that my hand wasn’t blocking the camera and I could discreetly press the button to make it take a picture.

For those who have never escorted, the exit strategy works like this.  One escort takes the person to the car, and then both go stand on either side of the driveway as the car leaves.  This is both to prevent the protesters from approaching the cars, and to keep them from trying to block the exit.  They can stand on the sidewalk and hold out their pamphlets, but they’re not allowed to actually approach the car unless the person inside indicates an interest in the pamphlets.  There is also a video camera set up, which is in theory supposed to be recording the protesters for their own protection, but which also just so happens to record every single person who enters and exits through the driveway.  Since the camera is technically on public property and it’s technically filming public property, there’s not a whole lot Planned Parenthood can do to get them to stop.

One of my own personal rules for escorting is “Do Not Engage.”  I refuse to talk to any of the protesters.  I have yet to encounter a situation where I would actually have to talk to someone (For instance “Get out of the driveway, you’re blocking traffic.”), and I find that it’s a much more effective tactic than trying to argue with them.  It’s better for me emotionally, and I think it kinda creeps them out a little.  I know a lot of their tactics work because a large portion of our society (especially women) has an ingrained aversion to being rude.  Ignoring someone who has given you a friendly greeting?  Totally rude.  I have no problem being that kind of rude to them, because it’s better than the sort of rude that comes with responding to them.  😀

So!  I would go out to take my pictures, being very careful to stand on public property while doing so.  I took several because I was trying to get a picture that would both show the protesters and also make it hard to actually identify any of them if I posted the picture publicly.  During the course of this, a couple of them tried to actually talk to me, mostly “How are you this morning” and “Hi there, I’m….”  That’s pretty typical.  They mostly just want to go “Nice to meet you, why are you helping kill babies?”  I think one of the guys caught on to what I was doing, because about an hour in, I heard him make a noise like he was trying to catch someone’s attention as I was walking away.  Not long after, one of the girls stood next to me while a car was leaving.

Girl:  Can I ask why you’re taking pictures of us? (her tone was almost as if she was leaving off “you baby killing heathen”)
Me:  *waves at people in the car*
Girl:  *listens to the little birdies*
Me:  *ignore,ignore,ignore*
Girl:  No, this isn’t awkward or anything.
Me:  *ignore,ignore,ignore,wtf?*

The real kicker?  This was the same girl who was writing down license plates.  She’s busily jotting down people’s license plate numbers, and she wants to know why *I’m* taking pictures of *them*.  I had Moose come get me when everything shut down, because I didn’t want them trying to follow me home.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think that one through and Moose came to pick me up driving my car and pulled right into the parking lot.  If they were quick enough, they probably got my plate number.  Most of their usual tactics won’t work on me, since I have no church to tattle to, most of the people at work would laugh in their faces, and I can only hope that if they should start trying to turn my neighbors against me that they start with the lady on the right.  At least her shouting will give us plenty of warning.

Also, Moose has already worked out exactly where he would install the camera if need be.  I heart my geek.

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