overheard a conversation this morning in the snow, out on the sidewalk. a client hollered at the 2 protestors as she went in the door. an escort repeated what the client had yelled, happy to tell the other escorts one of the clients hadn’t taken their domestic terrorism without some attempt to stand up for herSelf. “Tell her,” said the client, “Tell her to go home because while she’s down here being a busybody, her husband’s at home banging some other woman.” After repeating this with some glee, certain the protestor heard what had been said about her, the escorts agreed aloud it would indeed be better for this female sidewalk bully to go home. Then one escort informed the others that the protestor’s husband had died, just to get away from her.
This left an appalled silence. In this forum, in this time and on this day, may I implore each of us to rethink what we say before we open our mouths and say it. I am truly one of the worst about this, and there is no way of knowing how many years our services will be required on the sidewalks of America. But every time we become mean-spirited and cruel, we have sunk to (or below) their level.
It was difficult to not apologize to the protestor for our unkindness. What stopped me? My own grim certainty that she “deserved” it for all the trouble she causes clients, day in and day out, year after year. Perhaps this is merely the winter of my own discontent with myself and others, but I do feel guilty, still. Yes, still. At least her husband stayed with her, in their marriage, until death did them part. Every man, husband or otherwise, has always left me. So she’s definitely better at that relationship/marriage stuff than I.
Are the bruises on my arms as real as the bruises in another’s spirit when I am unkind? Yes, the aggression seems to be rising, on both sides, and they are pushing and yanking and hitting enough to leave bruises. Please, I need to hear from you. What do you think? Are we too cruel? Are we not cruel enough? What is too much? And what is not enough?