It has begun...
Today, an older white woman comes into the shop exclaiming how glad she is to see me - she wants to talk about mothers & why aren't mothers out in the street stopping this war? She’s shaking her head, baffled yet secure in her contempt of those pathetic women who are not stopping war.
At first I think maybe she's 'joking' but she goes on and on about how silent mothers have been & how they need to be active and doing things. She says this with full confidence that I will concur. I inquire if she knows about Mother's Day MONTH. I have to ask twice, she's so determined to espouse her analysis of mothers and their negligence in ending war. When she finally hears me, she looks pleasantly pleased and relaxes. "Really?" she queries. "Mothers are going to D.C. for Mother's Day? To end war? Lots & lots of them?"
"Will you join us" I query myself.
"Oh no" she responds quickly, "I can't."
"So there! Now you know why women aren't out in the street ending this war" I say.
"What? But I'm going to Hawaii" she says "I can't go"
"Everyone has something important to do" I say "that prevents us from getting into the streets & ending this war."
"But we already have our tickets" she cries.
"Everyone already has something planned for their lives" I insist.
"But I have a husband" she reasons.
"So?" I try not to keep the judgement out of my voice.
“Let women without husbands - they should go” she insists.
"Everyone has someone to leave" I respond.
"But my husband is 77 years old" she's almost whining now.
"So you understand & have answered your own question why women are not doing something to end this war - you're talking about yourself & what you are willing to do. It starts with you, not with anyone else. You are the one who cannot bring yourself to stop your life long enough to focus on ending this war."
"What can I tell my husband, I can't go to Hawaii (YES I say) after he's bought me the tickets? After all our plans to go?"
"Do you not think Iraq women had plans for their lives as well? How come you get to sashay thru your life without any consideration of your Iraq sisters who not only cannot live the plans they had for their lives, but are facing death, rape, torture, maiming, destruction every day - so you can go to Hawaii with your 77 year old husband?"
She wants to say something. She starts & stops herself several times.
I have to continue "You understand now, you are those women you came in here talking about."
During her silence, an older white guy steps forward - he had come in & was listening silently as we spoke - to hand me $20 & says "here's something for your work." I happen to know he's a doctor & could afford a lot more but for him, contributing $20 is probably like someone else contributing $2000 - he has browsed in my shop for 4 years without purchasing one little item, always saying he can't afford it. So I triply appreciate his donation.
The woman headed for Hawaii leaves as the doctor hands me money. About an hour later she returns to tell me I am right; she has seriously considered our conversation & she knows in her heart I am right. She spoke with her husband & he has told her he has to go to Hawaii & he needs her to go with him. She can't go with us.
I tell her go to Hawaii next month; this month go to D.C.
She says do I know how much that will cost her?
I tell her she has to decide what her working to end war will cost her, what she is willing to spend to end this war. It is her choice. I tell her we'll be there for a month. Maybe she will join us.