Sunday, October 28, 2012

Prison and High Risk Driver Class

We survived our prison visit. Although there are rows of razor wire around the perimeter fence, there are no guard towers. There was no pat down or even a metal detector. There was a clanging gate. One, and the buzz to open the gate was louder than any clanging. So basically, we signed in, gave our I.D., agreed that we wouldn’t hold the prison liable if anything happened to us, were buzzed in, immediately went down a stairwell and were taken into a conference room within maybe 30 feet. I briefly saw the “chow hall” which was just down the corridor and not locked up, which surprised me. But this is a minimum security prison, after all. 

We familiarized ourselves with the room we’re going to meet Ashawntae in, decided where we all would sit, discussed how the meeting would start and the roles of the facilitators, talked more about what our goals are and how we’ll achieve them, how we’ll handle our emotions, what we’ll do before and after to take care of ourselves, follow up appointments to see how we’re doing, and… we moved the big date up.
November 6th is now the day.  The facilitators think all of us are ready and there is no use in delaying another month. This is fine with me, too. I did, after all, end my last blog with “I’ll be glad when this whole thing is over.”

This means I can no longer procrastinate getting my pictures organized and an outline written of what I want to cover. I only have 8 more days! And 5 of those I’ll spend at work, only leaving me a few evenings and one Saturday. I will be attending The Compassionate Friends support group on Wednesday evening, therapy on Thursday evening, and on Sunday we’ll have our last Facilitated Dialogue meeting at 6:30 after a 12 mile hike on Eagle Creek. At least I’m done with my speaking engagements for a few weeks (I’m taking the 10th and 12th off to celebrate mine and Glenn’s 1st wedding anniversary... we are still pretty happy with each other). 

Regarding speaking engagements. The High Risk Driver class yesterday was WOW. I always find them interesting but yesterday was … WOW. I speak after a young man named Tyler Presnell, who was very badly injured in a crash at 14; it’s a miracle he survived. He suffered massive internal injuries but the most significant was Traumatic Brain Injury. Tyler’s message, delivered very high energy, includes his story, but mainly that it’s not cool to drive unsafely, that it’s a sign of disregard and disrespect for everyone else on the road. 

Yesterday he hit some nerves in the audience; a couple people confronted him about being “overly judgmental.” There was some back and forth of increasing intensity and Tyler clearly tried to de-escalate the situation, but then one audience member asked a complaining member what he was attending the class for and when he said it was for driving over 100 mph, the whole audience erupted (probably between 100-125 people). Everyone was yelling and pretty much didn’t stop until the facilitator, Jim, had the fast driver leave the auditorium. Several other men left at the same time. Then Jim said Tyler had used his time and had him leave as well. The remaining audience shouted support  as he left and he directed them to his website or facebook page to give feedback. I think he was pretty shook up.

After that, I’m not sure anybody will remember my presentation (I did get a couple rounds of applause and some tears, but I’m sure I was pretty hum drum after Tyler).And I thought it was one of my best...

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