Which was fabulous, and way, w a y better than being here:
Watching them do this:
This past weekend was the semi-annual General Conference for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as Mormons. Either of those are just too long to type all the time so from here on out in this blog they will be referred to as LDS.
The Conference center holds 21,333 people, the theater next to it holds 904, the Tabernacle holds 8000,and the Assembly Hall holds 2000 (all of these sites, by the way, are ON Temple Square) and there are, I believe, three sessions each day. So we have about 100,000 people descend upon downtown in a time frame of 2 days in a space of 2 blocks. All with little to no parking, and exacerbated by the construction zone surrounding downtown.
Now, numbers like these are too good to pass up, so people come out and protest the LDS church. Disenfranchised ex-Mormons, people upset with the LDS church's involvement is passing prop 8 in California, liberals, conservatives, fence sitters, and members of other religions who think of the church as a cult, or believe it is an affront to their religion. You know, the whole "My God's better than your God" debate. Maybe they're jealous; LDS have pretty good numbers.
Anyway, I used to work conference weekend because 1) I was new and didn't know what it was, and 2) I wasn't paying attention to the date. Now I look it up online and mark it in my calendar so I don't ever make that mistake again.
"Why?" You ask. "Why would Slave Driver pass up a golden opportunity to work a weekend when a boatload of people will be in town, many of them not from around here? You know, tourists = easy pickings."
Well, you know it's because of guys like this:
Now, as a general rule, I don't publically go dogging on others, whether they be bloggers, contest competitors, people of different religions (that actually means everyone, because I don't subscribe to one) or other carriage drivers. I also don't "flame" people, either in chats or blog comments. Maybe that's why I'm such a fan of Hannibal Lector; he often times dispatches those guilty of uber-rudeness. I don't come up with creative ways to slay them, I just ignore the slam.
However, when they are in my face, shouting disparaging comments or waving signs either at my horse or my customers, I get a little angry. The protesters stand around and hand out bible tracts, literature against the church, and signs decreeing that Joseph Smith was a liar, and that everyone associated with them is going to Hell in a Handcart.
In the midst of this circus *WE* carriage drivers try to go about our business. Because of our proximity to the Temple, *They* assume that *We* are 1) owned by The Church, 2) are members of The Church, 3) make money for The Church and 4) and support The Church.
Now, that's just rude. I feel that it's rude to stand in front of anyone's church and dog them for their beliefs.
When they approach our drivers (usually newbies who have not been involved in this rodeo before) I shoo them away, invoking a "Dogma and rhetoric free zone" on the sidewalk around our carriages/horses/drivers/customers. I have also had them try to hand literature to my customers while driving around Temple Square.
Oh hell, no. I don't allow that any more than I would a panhandler asking people in my carriage for a handout. My carriage is my office. This is where I work; Your free speech ends at the step.
Now, you have to understand something. Members of the LDS church have been schooled by their leaders to ignore, not respond, not engage and otherwise turn the other cheek in response to this diatribe against their core beliefs.
Many of our drivers, due to statistics, are LDS. I. Am. Not. So, *I* don't have to practice pacifism. *I* get to respond. And, as a group, when the protestors get too loud, *we* sing either "I'm Henry the VIII, I Am," by Herman’s Hermits, or "This is the Song that Never Ends," by the late great Sherry Lewis and Lamb Chop. *I* talk for a living. *I* know how to project from the diaphragm
*I* am not easily intimidated. So, since on several occasions I have almost come to blows with the A-Holes (we call it "The Freak Show") and because I don't want to end up in jail for something so inane and ridiculous as mixing it up with a fanatic, I take myself out of the equation.
Which is why I no longer work during this:
And instead I went with them:
And did this:
And stayed out of jail.