Sunday, November 29, 2009

No alarms & no surprises please.

There's a song off a great album, OK Computer by Radiohead, called "No Surprises," which I consider to be my work anthem. I listen to it all the time. It just really sums up for me how I feel about being an Abortioneer sometimes. I thought I'd share it with you all.

A heart that's full up like a landfill,
a job that slowly kills you,
bruises that won't heal.
You look so tired-unhappy,
bring down the government,
they don't, they don't speak for us.
I'll take a quiet life,
a handshake of carbon monoxide,

with no alarms and no surprises,
no alarms and no surprises,
no alarms and no surprises,
Silence, silence.

This is my final fit,
my final bellyache,

with no alarms and no surprises,
no alarms and no surprises,
no alarms and no surprises please.

Such a pretty house
and such a pretty garden.

No alarms and no surprises (get me outta here),
no alarms and no surprises (get me outta here),
no alarms and no surprises, please.

So yes, kind of a Debbie Downer, but sometimes if I'm having a bad day putting this song on makes me feel better. I love the line, "Bruises that won't heal," because in this line of work that is so applicable to so many different things. I might be in this field for the long haul, but if it turns out that I'm not, I will never forget all the stories I have heard from hundreds of women. I will never forget the pain, the suffering, and the joy and the tears of happiness. Working with these women has definitely changed my life.

The line "You look so tired-unhappy, bring down the government, they don't, they don't speak for us," is especially poignant right now considering all the nonsense with the Stupak amendment and the whole health care thing. Even with Obama in office, the government doesn't speak for us. Sometimes I wonder if anyone really has our back in the end. I know that Obama would never let that thing end up in the final version and that he is pro-choice and blahblahblah but sometimes I just get frustrated with everyone. All I'm trying to do is help women get a legal medical procedure! That's it. STEP. OFF.

The part "no alarms and no surprises" especially sticks with me the most, though, ever since Dr. Tiller was murdered. Working in this field, a "surprise" at work can be a bomb, a death threat, a murder. You never know what is going to happen. Sometimes I don't know what I will do if something happens to another provider. There are too many crazy people out there and sometimes I get worried.

No alarms and no surprises, please.


  1. Oh man I know what you mean. It's frustrating since I've always loved my work in this field, actually (except for the workplace stuff that nearly every job has- I don't mean that stuff). I know we all have our different tolerance levels to the adrenaline of others' needs, the repetition of the same pressures over and over, and especially to experiencing others' trauma...but for me all of that stuff has been surmountable. What really gets me down is the dangerous sea of negativity that I know is out there -- that sometimes laps at my feet and then sometimes swallows colleagues whole, in various ways including murder but also the enforcement of fear/loneliness/etc -- that part can make you pretty sensitive, skin-crackly, ready to cry when you're asked to explain it again from the top, if you feel on edge for too long.

  2. Thank you for a thought-provoking post - the latest in a string of wonderful posts on this blog. I've been a follower of The Abortioneers for many months, as I've been writing a book on younger pro-choice activists. Your words and insights have been a constant inspiration to me. I respect the need for anonymity, but if you or any of your fellow bloggers would be willing to speak with me in more detail about your work, for my book, please feel free to contact me via a response to this post. (I apologize for the rather public nature of this request, but wasn't sure what the best way to contact your or the other Abortioneers was.)

  3. Hi generation roe, thanks for your kind words! I checked out your blog and now can't wait to read your book someday :)
    We're kind of curious about your request and would love to talk with you about it more -- is there somewhere else we can chat more? Would email work OK?


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