Learning to act right (48)… “Ah my…”Torrey Orton
Jan. 31, 2015
What to do with a second hand emotion (thanks, Tina Turner)?
I’ve come recently to realise that I share with my security colleague T. at the Fertility Control Clinic a clinging residue of low grade exasperation with the behaviours of some anti-abortionists and some patients. They are as one in their repetition of an array of actions slightly silly or persistently contrary to their own interests.
The anti-abortionists repeatedly do two dumb things: one, offer a message to patients which once refused shifts to various levels and styles of berating the patients they were pretending to care about; and, two, offering their message to clearly unsympathetic local residents who frequent the pathways daily.
Some patients, on other hand, get stuck in conversations with protestors because they are following cultural traditions of public civility which lock them into engaging once they have stopped smilingly to acknowledge the offers they discover they don’t want. Politeness paralyses them, and they in turn paralyse us (unintended consequence to be sure; however…five or ten unavoidable times in 90 minutes creates its own effects) waiting as we must for them to disconnect and continue their progress to the Clinic door.
And T. and I are often one in expressing quite spontaneously our exasperation with a low volume sigh of “Ah my…” almost in synch. Say it aloud and feel the phrase’s natural rhythm draw the tension out of you. Then try it in company. More tension dispersal. The CBT oriented stress management community would commend acceptance and commitment with a dash of catastrophic thought reduction to sooth our self-imposed wounds. They would fail to notice that this is a systematically reinforced reinjuring powered by our respective commitments to the impossible task of smoothing the patient pathway to their legitimate medical service. Neither of us, along with others of the Friends of the Clinic and security services, are yet willing to forego that commitment.
So, say it loud “Ah my…”