Classic Stories from the Sidewalk

On Saturdays, after we get through at the clinic, the escorts go out for breakfast.  We usually spend some time chatting about the events of the day, relaxing and debriefing.  There are some classic moments on the sidewalk.

At breakfast last Saturday, one of the newer escorts was talking about a couple of the protesters –  Andrew, for one – who often says  “…we’re not here to shame women, we’d never do that, we’re here because we love them…”  So he’s saying that, and…

…a few minutes later, a client and companion come up the sidewalk.  As they pass the guy with the ponytail who always stands right on the corner of the clinic, he says, “Shame!  Shame!  You should be ashamed!”

We had to laugh.  Nope, not there to shame women, right?

The guy with the ponytail (ok, I usually call him “Ponytail Guy” because it’s shorter, but it seems kind of rude, and makes it sound like I might object to his hair, which I don’t at all.)  But Ponytail Guy is usually pretty quiet, although he likes to whisper to Servalbear and me sometimes.  In the winter, he’ll tell Servalbear “You’ll be warm soon,” referring to hell, of course, and he just calls me “Satan’s helper.”

But those are just typical stories.  This Saturday, there were a few things that were new and different.

I approach a car with two women in it who could have been mother and daughter.   They looked anxious and worried, which is not unusual, right?

I say, “Hi, do you have an appointment at the clinic?”

The older woman says, “Well, she has an appointment today, yes, for an ultrasound,” but she sounds doubtful, so I say, “At the clinic?  At the abortion clinic?”

“Oh, no!” she replies, “No, at AWC, she’s just having an ultrasound – but – all those protesters – are they here protesting ultrasounds??”  Her voices trembles a bit.  {I am not making this up, she really said that.}

I smile, and try to reassure her that, “Nooooo, they’re not protesting ultrasounds!  They’ll be delighted to see you two.”

“But -” she hesitates, then blurts out, “But I’m scared to go up there, they’re standing right in front of the clinic!”

“I’m so sorry!” I say, with all sincerity,  “We’d offer to walk with you, but I’m pretty sure that would just make things worse.”

HH, another escort has come up behind me.  “That’s right,” he says, “And then they probably wouldn’t believe you weren’t going to the abortion clinic…”

“No, no,” she says, “It’s ok,” then, to the younger woman,  “Come on, let’s do this.”

I didn’t see what happened after that, I’m assuming they made it safely to the anti-clinic.  It makes me giggle though, to think the protesters are scaring away the very people they would want to be there.

AND – did you notice how we didn’t even try to talk them out of the ultrasound?  Didn’t make any effort to convince her to have an abortion instead!  That’s right!  I let her make her own decision!  That is the difference between escorts and protesters, by golly!  {That makes me laugh too.}

Later, I’m up in front of the clinic, Angela is doing her thing, calling to the clients to come out, to change their minds – “Don’t do it, don’t do it,” she says, “Don’t let that abortionist touch you,…”  I’ve heard all that before, but then she adds a new twist.

“Don’t let them violate your body like that,” she says,  “After this abortion, your body will never be the same…” and I burst out laughing.

Right?  Your body will never be the same after an abortion – but it will be after pregnancy?  Good grief.  Not your most convincing argument, Angela.

But the best, the topper for the day, was Tim.  You may remember Tim, he’s the one who yells at the window with his hands cupped around his mouth, like a megaphone,  like your mama maybe used to do when she called you in to dinner.

So Tim stands facing the window and he does his usual routine, which is something like this:

Come out of there – you don’t have to do this – you can go to Lifehouse Maternity Home.  You can live there – for three years.  They’ll pay – for you – to go to school.   You can go to – beauty school. Computer school.  Cosmetology school.  Whatever you want to do.  They’ll provide – free – daycare.  When you come home from school – or work – you pick up your kid – and you both – sit down – to dinner.  Free!”

He pauses, and I’m wondering how much of what he says is true and thinking about checking it out when he starts again, still yelling through his megaphone hands, “I’m sorry! I got distracted by a phone call!”

I look up and catch Dan’s eye, and we both pause – did he really say that?  And we start laughing – it’s just so ludicrous – Tim apologizing for this break in yelling at a window to people he doesn’t know and can’t see, while he’s trying to convince them to live the way he thinks they ought to.  Really?

Days later, we’re still laughing about it among ourselves, enough that I almost feel sorry for Tim, and then it hits me again, how silly that was, and I have to laugh some more.  But the best follow-up line is from another escort who comments:

See? That’s what’s wrong with society these days!! Tim is so tethered to that electronic gadget of the devil he lost his holy focus. Shame on you Tim for being so weak as to cave to the temptation of the evil electronic sinful yet compelling call of the devil and his minions as you do God’s work in his blessed name. I REBUKE that evil tool of the devil and Verizon that robs people of their damn common sense!!

I don’t think I can add anything to that!  But aren’t you glad that it’s not always just doom and gloom on the sidewalk?


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About Fausta

Trauma sensitive Consultant and Coach for Compassionate professionals who experience second hand trauma and are at risk of burnout so they can keep doing the work that matters to them and to the world.

14 thoughts on “Classic Stories from the Sidewalk

  1. I did go briefly to the Lifehouse site and I will say they are very upfront about their mission and that are a religous based organization. I have no objection to a place that provides this type of service but I don’t think others should be able to promise women they can go there when the site recently posted they are full with 6 women and 4 babies. The site also says everyone with a high school diploma is expected to work and give 10% back to the maternity home. So, it is not really free and I am not sure when women can go to college courses if they are expected to work. I got all of this information from their website so I wonder if you anti knows he is lying to women or if he is just too lazy to gather accurate information. That said, if women want to live there with full knowledge of what is expected and/or are told up front they are not guaranteed a place to live, college scholarships, the sun and moon then I am glad they have a place to go.

    • Yes, I checked it out too, KyBorn. and agree completely – it offers services that will be really beneficial if they’re a good fit for the person’s belief system and if the person gets accepted. But it’s not exactly the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that Tim makes it sound like. I wonder if they know what he’s doing…

      Thanks for checking it out and commenting on it!!

  2. Here in Iowa we can always tell who the hard core antis are just by looking at their vehicles. There’s usually one or more anti-abortion stickers on the vehicle. I saw one guy in Bettendorf one morning who had not only the back of his truck completely covered with stickers, but the sides as well just about up to the passenger doors. In Dubuque the Planned Parenthood doesn’t even do abortions but there are always protestors on the sidewalk, and if you go a block or two down the road there are their vehicles, covered in anti-abortion stickers, and taking up parking spots in front of private homes.

  3. Do these people have any idea how absurd they sound? It takes some serious pride and lack of self-reflection to not read their own words or see themselves on video while not thinking that their reasoning, well, has no reason. I suppose they only surround themselves with others who re-enforce their warped views. I know if I started acting like this in public and my family/friends saw it they would tell me to check myself and insist I seek mental health care. Some of these people identify as pro-life.

    • Lol, Kyborn, you sound so surprised. Not only do they not think they sound ridiculous, they think they’re right. They really do, you know.

  4. We escorts at our local clinic also have our favorite stories that we laugh at. And I continue to notice how the things your antis and antis and protesters at other clinics are exactly the same things that our antis say and do.

    The “preacher” who comes to our clinic (he claims to be a real preacher, going from Ret. Col. to Rev., to Father, to Dr.) brings a bullhorn and stands across the street preaching. We have a 27-minute video of him preaching to 3 escorts and a clinic empty of patients. Recently he again showed up late in the afternoon and preached for 12 minutes on his bullhorn. A neighboring business called the police to complain about his bullhorn preaching. Of course he was gone by the time they got there. He has also used the hands around the mouth megaphone both across the street from the clinic and in front of the building (much like the Ronald McDonald House) next to the clinic where people stay who have family members who are seriously ill in the local hospital up the street. He implores the women to come out of the clinic and talk to them. They love us and the women, the doctors are in it for the money, we are trying to “justify” our own abortions. The list goes on and on.

    Ahhh, always interesting.

    • It IS interesting, Josie – do you think they teach this stuff in some kind of anti-school? Lol…

      But it’s not funny how they try to make people feel, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing your stories here!

  5. Why don’t they hand out vouchers to beauty and computer school instead of yelling at people? “Here – walk away from the Clinic and these are all the goodies you’ll win”. Might get them better results.

    • Ha, great idea, bodycrimes! Lol… I didn’t even know they had “vouchers” for that, but I bet Tim could get some made up!!

      • I like that, Eodez – it’s too bad many of them don’t believe in birth control either. Yeah. Ridiculous.

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