I have a camera in my phone, and I use it to take all sorts of mundane pictures every day. So there really should be a picture to accompany this post, but there isn't. Which is too bad, because without an actual picture, the story isn't quite as good.
The thing is, this place is right there on the service road beside a very busy highway, right next to an off-ramp actually, so there's always tons of traffic. Not the ideal place to fool around with taking a picture.
What place am I talking about? Well, it's possibly an abortion clinic. Or it isn't, but someone really wants it to be.
Here's the deal: I drive by this building quite often, and there are always people standing around out front. Usually, they're just sitting there. The first time I drove by, I thought it was just some people who got hot and decided to rest in a shady spot under some trees.
But then I drove by again a few days later, and a different group of people was sitting in the same spot. When I say "group," I mean about four to six people, depending on the weather.
Sometimes, I drive by and nobody's there. Other times, they will be there with their signs.
The first time I saw the signs, it was a group of young Asian women, and they were all wearing glasses. I doubt any of those details are important, but I could be wrong. I'm just telling you the scene as I saw it. They were all carrying signs, and two of the four signs said the same thing. The other two signs, I didn't see, because they were facing the other way, and I was driving by very rapidly.
The signs I saw were lettered in thick black letters and read,
This place is an abortion clinic.
My first thought was, "Good to know."
Not because I have a use for an abortion clinic, but because that's the kind of a place you want to know about. That way, when someone asks where one's at, and you can off-the-top-of-your-head tell them exactly where one's at, they'll look at you funny and wonder. I know where a taxidermy place is, too, by the way. Not that that's the same as an abortion clinic, but I think you get my point.
And in case you don't: Nobody cares if you know where the Sonic is. It's not weird or impressive. "Hey, I want a cherry-lime and a corndog. Where's Sonic?"
"Go straight down Jollyville Road for about two miles, it'll be on the right."
See, except for the street name (which is real), nothing about that conversation is interesting. On the other hand, listen to this one:
"Hey, I need to rent about forty Port-A-Potties, where can I do that?"
"Take 290 East until you get to the Woodward exit. Take the second right, at Burleson, and then go for about a mile--it'll be on the left."
See? That's the kind of thing that makes people go, "Wait...why do you know that?"
And then you can either make up some story or just do a really bad job of pretending like you didn't hear, and then quickly change the conversation. It leaves them troubled and wondering.
Which is how I generally like to leave people.
So you can see why I'd like to have abortion clinic locations in my arsenal of intelligence.
But the other day when I drove by, there was a new group with slightly different signs. The change was small, but important. The group consisted of three people--two old white women, and one old man, who was also white. Their signs were all identical. Red text instead of black:
This place is an abortion clinic!
When I read things, I pay attention to punctuation. I can't help it. Which is why it drives me crazy when I get emails that are littered with exclamation points and void of commas.
"Hey how r you doing?!! Things here not going so well!!! But were hoping that the death of our aunt the dog and the loss of our home won't ruin our Christmas to much this year!!!!"
I'm probably not supposed to laugh at the above sentence. But I do. I crack up. Because I can only picture the bearer of this bad news wearing a huge, maniacal smile. Or yelling from the top of a moving train. Yelling about their aunt the dog and the loss of their home. I don't know what that means, exactly, but it's hilarious. The death probably had a silver lining--because at least there are no more awkward introductions, "Hey,Bob, how's it going? Oh this? This is my aunt-the-dog-and-the-loss-of-our-home. Yep, the one who always gets drunk and ruins Christmas."
My point being, when I saw the sign, I read it as, "Pray this is an abortion clinic."
And I had to wonder if the old people were pro-life or pro-choice. I imagined what it would be like to stop and talk to them, find out why I should pray that the place was an abortion clinic.
"Well, my grand-daughter's in there, sedated, and with a vacuum hooked up to her uterus. If this place ain't an abortion clinic, she's into some serious freaky stuff."
That's if they're pro-choice, of course. If they're pro-life, it'd be more like, "Well, I saw lots of young ladies going in there, so I planted a bomb in the basement. I later found out that it's a call-center for that Whisper 3000 thing I see on the television. But I can't get in there to stop the bomb, so I figure that if The Almighty could change this into a den of sin, it'd all work out."
I don't know, man, it was just the way my mind went.
I wanted to stop so bad. And just ask them, "But why? Why do I need to pray that this place is an abortion clinic?"
Out of all the things to pray for it to be, why that? I want to go back with my own sign, someday. Something like, "Pray this place is a Pizza Hut. Because I like pizza a lot."
It also makes me want to make signs for other places. Like go stand outside of a Office Depot with a sign that says, "Pray! This place is an Office Depot!"
I don't know. I guess because if you're going to pray for dumb shit, it might as well at least be dumb shit that makes a little bit of sense.
UPDATE: Got a message from a reader who said I should protest with my own sign that reads, "Pray for people who pray that this is an abortion clinic." Outstanding suggestion, Kim-O!