Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Names and Gender Games

Today was fairly uneventful. The protesters had lots of their big signs out – three or four, which is more than usual. A couple of just normal fetii, and then the one big exploded one. Lovely. Luckily there weren’t a lot of patients this week, and they mostly went in the back.

I’ve been thinking about names a lot lately, as last week a new volunteer, LW, and I were discussing the nicknames we use for the protesters. He thinks it’s a bit out of line to refer to them as “Crazy this” and “Crazy that”, and I’m starting to think he has a valid point. I certainly don’t know any of their personal histories, plus it is offensive to use the word “crazy” in such a haphazard and derogatory way. So I’ve been rethinking the names, and here are some of the regular characters we get, with explanations so everyone is clear on what the names refer to:

Crazy Legs – the blonde woman who chases after patients. I think this nickname is still acceptable because it refers to the movement of her legs and not her mental state. If you could see her run, you would agree that she has crazy legs.

Fetus Lady – the woman (I think it is Peter Ryan’s wife, but I’m not sure) who is most often holding the picture of the fetus. Pretty self-explanatory.

Glare-y – a man who spends a lot of his time glaring at us. Again, I think this is accurate.

Glare-y Jr. – a younger, more intense version of above; may or may not be related.

The Ghost – I call her this because she reminds me of one. She wanders back and forth, no sign or anything, just a rosary. Like she’s haunting the place. Her voice is monotonous, whispy and yet insistent, and all she ever says is “it’s a baby”. She creeps me out.

There are lots of others for whom I do not yet have names, because they don’t really stand out to me (most of them look the same – middle-aged white men). But you may have noticed one glaring omission from my list: Father Crazy. The reason is that I need a new name for him, because that one really is offensive and assumptive (is it a word? If it is, I hope it means what I think it does). However, I just recently found out his true identity – he is a person whose letters to the editor of the Daily Gleaner I read with great interest and amusement. I really do think he is crazy – intelligent and articulate, yes, but crazy. His ideas and opinions…well, I want to say they’re out in left field, but I think it would be more accurate to say right field. Far, far right field.

Regardless of this, I still think it is mean-spirited to refer to him as Father Crazy. Perhaps Father Right would be better – I like how it works on at least two different levels. So that’s what he’ll be from now on. I guess I could refer to him by his real name, but I like the nicknames, they’re fun. Sometimes I wonder if the protesters have nicknames for us, or have picked up on any of our weird traits; maybe they don’t even register anything about us except that we are there. Maybe thinking of nicknames would be unChristian (sort of like judging people...wait a minute...).

Another thing I wanted to mention was the gender divide. I haven’t really made up my mind where I fall on the whole “no uterus, no opinion” thing, but I do find it telling that so many anti-choicers are men. What I (and the other escorts) find very strange is the difference between male and female protesters. First of all, for the first shift they are usually all men. And they are generally quiet and peaceful. They hold their signs, and they seem more concerned with changing the minds of passersby than going after the patients themselves. However, when the women show up, not only are they (the women) more aggressive, their behaviour influences the men. They start to get riled up as well. Isn’t that strange? I can’t figure out why they change like that when the women come out. Theories, anyone?


Amy O said...

First, I love you, you are funny.

The Ghost sounds creepy. She should be called the Holy Ghost.

If they are Christian and non judgemental I wonder why Glare-y and Glare-y Jr. always glare at you. They shouldn't be hating you, they should be praying for you.

And I think the men get riled up when the women come along because they are all competing for the woman's attention. Like in nature. They are trying to win her over sexually.

The Pedgehog said...

The Holy Ghost! I love it. Thanks Amy.