In the aftermath of the Saturday before Mother’s Day, it seems quiet. Not necessarily on the sidewalk, but the need to gather large numbers of escorts is gone. The fundraiser ~ which was a great success ~ is winding down as people pay their pledges.
Father’s Day is coming soon, but it just doesn’t have the same impact as Mother’s Day for the protesters.
We’ve moved deep into spring and are headed for summer, which makes my Saturday mornings more pleasant . I’m not a fan of winter ~ in fact, escorting is the first and only thing I’ve done voluntarily that requires being outside when it’s cold. But the seasons of escorting come and go… and there are always stories to tell.
Servalbear and I made a neat discovery on the blog – we mentioned we’ve been getting comments from one of the protesters over and over, right? Well, guess what! We can mark them as spam a few times, and they start going to spam automatically. We don’t even have to read them anymore. Just delete them, along with the typical other junky spam. Makes me feel like Batman, Caped Crusader ~ Bif! Bam!! Take that, pesky protester!**
And there’s this story ~ the escorts know this one, but I don’t think I’ve told it here. For a long time, one group of the protesters didn’t know my name. My vest has a name on it ~ my daughter’s, because it used to be hers back when she was an escort. I call it my heirloom vest. So they figured out that wasn’t my name, but they didn’t know what it was.
Then for a long time, they thought my name was Frances. There once was an escort named Frances, but it’s not me. One day, I ran into one of this group of protesters outside the clinic, at a public event. She was with someone I didn’t recognize, and as she walks by, I hear her say to the other woman “there’s one of those deathscorts.” I just smile.
Later, we come face to face, and she says to her friend, “This is…” ~ like she’s going to introduce me ~ and to me, “What is your name? I know it’s not Frances.”
And I say, “That’s right ~ it’s Not Frances.” And that stuck for a long time. The escorts started calling me “Not Frances,” and it was an amusing game. Kinda like Rumplestiltskin, right?
Recently, they figured out what my name is, and have begun using it ~ under their breath at first, with more certainty now. Clearly, they’ve googled me, and they reference things they’ve learned about me, with a hiss, and a touch of venom. I just smile. Fortunately, I’m NOT actually Rumplestiltskin, and the name thing was just a game. I don’t care if they know who I am ~ I don’t have to hide being an escort. Their efforts miss the mark. It doesn’t matter at all.
But mostly we settle back into the mundane, after Mother’s Day. Sometimes I get a bit tired of blogging. You know, it starts to seem so repetitive on the sidewalk. The protesters scream “dead baby, dead baby” and I blog “mean protesters, mean protesters,” and really, how does that help anything?
Then I hear a story like this:
Two women get to the clinic, and jump out of the car. The escort approaches and says, “The clinic doors aren’t open yet, and there are a few protesters here, if you like, you can wait in the car and we’ll let you know when the doors open.
The two young women look at each other and smile. One of them says, “Oh, we aren’t worried about them.” The other one adds, “We’ve been reading your blog and practicing what we’re going to say to them! They won’t bother us at all.” Still smiling, they walk to the door, unfazed by the chasers around them.
THAT is why I keep doing this. Helping people find ways to push back against the stigma and shame on the sidewalk ~ that’s what this is about.
** NOTE: No protesters were harmed in the writing of this blog, and I do not endorse violence in any form, on or off the sidewalk.