a picket at the San Francisco Scientology building
$cn officials might find it hard to believe that I have a life, but I do. That's why I didn't post this report immediately after the picket, and that's also why I wanted to start picketing a little early. I had other things I wanted to do in the afternoon.
It had been raining in the morning, but I used my non-existent Gnarly Suppressive Person Oat Tee powerz (SPOTs) to keep the rain from falling during the picket. (I find they're also helpful on the bus. As I approach my stop, I just use my SPOTs to get someone else to pull the cord for me.)
I arrived at about 11:35 and began picketing solo. I had already had a brief conversation at the bus stop with someone who asked about my sign, and I'd already given fliers to two people. I probably reach as many drivers and pedestrians on my way to and from the org as I do walking around in front of it.
When I got there, a gentleman was standing outside smoking. It was the same gentleman who, on my first picket, had told me I should get my facts straight about $cn being anti-feminist and that the ED of the SF org was a woman. I had hoped to see him. I had brought a letter with me, asking $cn executives for information confirming that $cn is not anti-feminist. If they can demonstrate to me that that's true, I want to change my sign.
I asked the man if I could give him a letter. He said no! I told him I wanted to have $cn convince me that $cn is not anti-feminist. He gestured toward the door. I told him I didn't want to go inside for fear that I would be called a trespasser.
The foot traffic was much better than last week, and I had lots more takers for my fliers. Many of the people who declined to take a flier said they already knew that $cn was a scam. I suggested that they tell their friends or tell their congressperson.
Shortly after I started, Peaches and Taniwha arrived. Peaches looked smart as usual in her professional business attire. (I was wearing my BRIGHT RED ensemble from last week.) We did a pretty good job of not clumping up in one place this week, and I think we covered the passersby quite well.
I tried out some Trade Show Tech. I tried to make eye contact with pedestrians and, if I caught their eye, I said, "Would you like a flier?" A lot of people were standing a little ways off, eyeing our picket signs. I don't think they would have asked for a flier, but a lot of them took one when I offered it.
We had a few interesting conversations. One gentleman took a flier and said he was aware of the problems $cn causes, and that they were having a lot of problems with $cn in his home country of France. Another gentleman told Peaches and me that he had a friend who had "escaped" from $cn. He had been in for about two years, about two years ago, at the San Francisco org. He thanked Peaches and me for picketing.
A gentleman in a blue suit, with a camera, came out and watched us and started taking our pictures. Peaches and I were talking with a woman who had stopped to ask us for more information and to tell us about a friend who had taken some $cn courses, after which the friend had become "more selfish". While we were talking, Peaches said to me "Jour, we're having our picture taken", so we turned around to the Blue Suit gentleman and posed. I wasn't sure if he actually snapped a shot or not. We went back to talking, and our pedestrian friend learned that the photographer was from $cn, not a reporter. She was NOT pleased. She said she came from El Salvador and it's not safe to have people taking your picture. She went over to the Blue Suit gentleman and had a conversation with him about the photos. (Peaches later told me that he told the woman he was taking the photos to give to the police department's hate crimes division.) Later, I saw him aiming the camera at me again, so I posed, smiled, and waved. That didn't seem to be what he wanted, because he lowered the camera. I grinned and said, "I'm sorry - are we not looking angry enough for you?" He looked frustrated. I thought he was being very silly.
Not long after that, the Blue Suit gentleman started walking next to Taniwha, talking to him. He stayed with Taniwha the whole time! Poor Tani.
I saw Our Lady of the Stress Test Table (no, no Stress Test Table was set up today) walking toward the org about a half block away. Suddenly, she disappeared. I asked Peaches if she had seen her, and she said she had ducked into a pastry shop. A few minutes later she did walk past us into the org. I asked her if I could give her my letter. She laughed and said no. I am amazed that Scientologists are so unwilling to receive my communication. I'm doing my best to be as polite and considerate as I can be.
After we'd been there for about an hour, we left. I had a few more conversations on the way back, including one on a crowded bus, which I'm sure others heard. The questions I was asked gave me a chance to talk about the recorded confessionals and criminal convictions, among other things.
I thought this was a great picket. We got lots of information across and had a good response from passersby (lots of supportive comments).
This page was last updated on May 8, 1999.