Monday, January 19, 2015

grab a sandwich, get swept up in a movement.

today's post is brought to you by "weird shit that happens to emily that she seriously can't make up".

seriously. i was going to blog about x-men and how i've been binge watching it and crying over homeless charles xavier. but then THIS THING HAPPENED.

let's just jump right in.

okay. so i'm a high school swim coach. my old high school, to be exact. i swam there for four years. it was awesome. now i'm their assistant swim coach and it's seriously the best part of my day. i love every minute of it.

on saturday, we had our summit athletic conference, or SAC. it's a bunch of teams lumped together by location by IHSAA (indiana high school athletic association) and we all swim against each other and one team is the conference champion.

snider always wins. always.

i go in with relatively high hopes for our mostly newbie on the mend team. i get to the natatorium early so i can have a parking space (the parking lot is tiny for the number of people that come to these events) and i'm knitting while my kids are arriving. my head coach and coworker, ben, arrives.

ben's a really chill dude with earrings and a beard and a super cute daughter. we complement each other super well. i worry about everything. he calms me down. he worries about nothing. i point out stuff he should probably worry about. we're hoping to go to a few coaching seminars this summer and build the team up.

early in the week, i had asked the natatorium staff if there would be a hospitality room to feed the coaches during the break in the middle of the meet for diving.

nat person: yeah, catered by subway.
me: will it be vegetarian friendly?
nat person: uhhhh probs not

so ben texts me on friday and he's like "yo i'll just buy you jimmy johns" and i'm like "HELL YEAH JIMMY JOHNS" and ben's like, "i'll pay because i'm married with a good job" and i'm like "HELL YEAH JIMMY JOHNS" and ben's wife is like "WHY AREN'T YOU BUYING ME SANDWICHES?!"

so saturday rolls around. the meet starts. we're doing pretty well. we have some great swims. some other kids have some great swims. i'm hanging out with dwenger's coach because i was in his wedding. things are good.

diving comes. ben calls jimmy johns to have them deliver my sandwich. five minutes later he comes up to me like, jimmy johns won't deliver because the nat is too far away.

let me make this perfectly clear.

jimmy johns is 1.6 miles from the natatorium.


i've had pizza delivered to me while i was in the ER. i was literally in a trauma room with doctor's poking me and they delivered the pizza directly to me. i wasn't having that "too far to deliver" bullshit.

so ben gives me two fives and says, "hurry back" and suddenly i'm on a mission.

drive to jimmy johns, get a sandwich, and be back before the meet resumes.

i grab my bag and run out to my van, knowing full well that i'm going to lose my magnificent parking spot that i got to the meet an hour early for. set my GPS for jimmy johns because downtown fort wayne looks something like this.

i know that jimmy johns is at wayne and calhoun (the street the nat is on). at some point in time, over by wayne street, which is one way, calhoun was one way. i have vague memories of them doing construction to make it two way, but when you move to michigan for college, you kind of forget where and wheb these things happened.

my lovely british GPS is telling me to turn onto washington (one way), then onto harrison (one way) and then onto wayne (one way) to make a big square.

it's one thirty. traffic isn't too bad. but there are a lot of cop cars around and i'm a little worried about that.

i'm following an SUV that also looks like it needs a sandwich. on either side of wayne street there's metered parking. and i'm like 'ayyy i'm only gonna be in jimmy johns for probably a minute and a half so i probably don't need to pay' but then i realise that there is literally NO PARKING AVAILABLE.

does everyone need jimmy johns as much as i do? is that why both sides of the street are parked up?

the SUV and i roll around the block again and as i'm panicking about where to park, a couple cop cars pull up and turn on their lights. something weird is happening.

i continue on wayne street and haphazardly park on the left side of the street, right next to a cop car and very illegally.

me: i'm sure this will be okay
me: if this isn't okay i'm gonna get a parking ticket
me: maybe i can cry and get out of it
me: i just want my sandwich
me: this will take two minutes it's gonna be fine

i get out of my van, step into ankle deep snow in my toms, and the wind blows my van door wide open. good thing i'm not parking in actual metered parking because i probably would've taken the meter out.

then i wrap my coat around me and head as fast as i can toward calhoun street and the coolest downtown jimmy johns i've ever seen. there's a dude about my age walking with me and he has some earbuds in and he looks pretty chill and like he could use a good sandwich.

right when i get to the street to cross it...


but they blow right by me and chill earbud guy and start blocking off calhoun street. which is my direct path back to the natatorium.

and then... i see them.

marching down calhoun street. thousands of them. thousands of people.

it's an effin' right to life march.

thousands of people are walking down the street. they have pictures of the pope and pictures of nuns. they have crosses. they have catholic and lutheran school signs. they have pictures of dead babies.

i have literally walked directly into a pro-life march.

earbud guy: what the hell is going me?
me: no idea.
random marcher: I LOVE FORT WAYNE MAN
earbud guy: ME TOO, MAN, ME TOO

i. cannot. make. this. up.

photo courtesy of our awesome newspaper, the journal gazette.
i'm getting intense about copyright, you guys.

i don't want to spend a lot of time on ideology, but i'm pro-choice. you will not see me at a right to life march. and at this point, i just want my goddamn sandwich.

earbud guy and i are trying to figure out how to cut through all these intensely marching people. lucky for me, they're in groups. between what looks like a military group and one of the lutheran high schools, there's a gap.

i run across as fast as i can before i get swept up by these people. i totally applaud that they're marching on this windy day and fighting for what they believe in, but this is not the type of march that i want to be swallowed by.

get into the jimmy johns. order my usual. the guy behind the counter doesn't seem to notice that the entire street in front of his shop is filled with thousands of right to life people. i'm ridiculously flustered and i wonder how much time it's taken me to get here, to find an illegal parking spot, to get partially swept up into a right to life march.

my sandwich is done. i thank the guys behind the counter, shove the sandwich in my bag, and head back outside.

now there are MORE PEOPLE OUTSIDE. chill earbud guy is gone. my van is still parked illegally next to a cop car and i don't see any breaks in the march.

i've never been to a real march. i've done crop walks at alma. every time that i wanted to do a slut walk, i had another engagement. i've seen marches in washington DC when i was there for active minds conference and i did a stomp out stigma walk around georgetown university's campus, but everyone there was pretty much an active minds college student.

i've never really seen a march like this in fort wayne. i'm intrigued. but i definitely just want to get back to the natatorium with my sandwich now that i have my hands on it.

it takes forever to find a gap in the marchers. i'm worried that as soon as i step out into the street, i'm going to get sucked in and someone is going to push a sign in my hand that says "I SUPPORT LIFE!"

like, i support life. but not in the right to life kinda way. more like the planned parenthood sex education free birth control universal healthcare raise the minimum wage kind of way.

i squeeze into a gap. nobody grabs me and hands me a sign. nobody looks at me and shouts "LOOK! A PRO-CHOICE WOMAN! GRAB HER!"

i make my way safely across the street. look back at the march as i'm getting in my van. drive away quickly.

realise that all of this has taken place in fifteen minutes.

let me tell you, that was probably the craziest fifteen minutes of my life.

when i get back to the nat, i eat the jimmy johns like my life depends on it. ben comes into the hospitality room like "was your sandwich good" and i'm like "i almost got swept up into a right to life march" and he's like "dude i'm surprised you didn't stay and march with them" and i was like "eh i'm a pro-choice" and he was like "eh rock on" and that pretty much ended that conversation.

the rest of the meet went well. i stayed a liberal queer pro-choice woman.

but i still almost got swept up in a right to life march and it was actually kinda cool.

and i got through the whole thing without a parking ticket WHAT UP.

(but i did lose my awesome parking spot and had to park on the street. didn't get a parking ticket for that either. WINNING.)

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