Funny the World...

GUNS AND CONDOMS

May 25. 2000

Where was Christian taking me now? I have to admit I wondered, when we were traveling along the back streets and came across a sign I'd never seen before! But we mushed on into an industrial area and ended up at the headquarters of Comcast Cable, a company which was holding a health fare, to which Breaking Barriers had been invited. I was back on condom patrol again!

Fortunately the temps had dropped slightly. I can’t imagine sitting there for five hours in the triple digit weather, but it was "only" in the 90s and we even had a few puffs of that famous, blessed Delta breeze that makes living in the Sacramento valley palatable.

We began to set up our area with posters, information on Breaking Barriers, and the inevitable bowl of condoms.

Christian discovered he’d left the brochures back at the office, so he rushed off to get them, while I continued to set up the space. We weren’t sure what to expect. We’d had a lot of business when we did a career fair at Sacramento City College a couple of weeks ago. This event was just for Comcast employees, so who knew whether we’d have any interest or not. We were in good company. Across from us was the Sacramento AIDS foundation and the Names Project (the AIDS quilt). On one side of us was an Alzheimers support group, and on the other a support group for Parkinsons Disesase. There were a handful of other health-related booths, a big table full of free snack bars (nutritious, of course), and three huge coolers full of juice, iced tea and water (most of which disappeared throughout the long, hot afternoon).

We were given envelopes with instructions for how to handle our booth (everybody who showed up got a raffle ticket; apparently Comcast had bribed the employees to visit each booth), tickets for our free lunch, and a big roll of raffle tickets. The employees started arriving before Christian returned from the office, so I started solo. I was doing well until a couple of people picked something out of the condom bowl and asked me what it was. I didn’t know and ended up removing them all until Christian came back and I could ask him. Sigh...I’ve led such a sheltered life. It was a dental dam and I’ll let you use your own imagination to figure out what it was doing in the condom bowl.

The afternoon passed more or less uneventfully. As usual, we were the hit of the day when people realized what we were giving out. And the flavored condoms were a great draw, with the women pawing through the bowl to make sure they got a wide variety of flavors.

Along the way we also managed to get a few people to sign up to come to a workshop about volunteer opportunities at Breaking Barriers. The high point of the day was a large, middle aged African American woman who came to the infamous bowl wondering if we were giving out candy. When she saw what it was she did a double take. When she realized that the condoms came in flavors and colors and textures she was just about beside herself, commenting that she had received a tremendous education today (while confessing that she had no need of condoms). Every time she passed near our table, she would catch our eye, shake her head and giggle. She was a lot of fun.

At the end of the day, we packed up our goodies, put them in the oven-temperature car, and headed back to where I’d parked my car (thank god for auto air conditioners!). Christian and I had a good chat about the need for dissemination of information, the many layers of the problem, and how satisfying we have both found it working with people with HIV and AIDS. We both agreed that we get as much out of the experience as we give, if not more.

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created 5/25/00 by Bev Sykes

 

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