Daily Connector | What I Found Challenging and Difficult | Dan Halterman

The prompt was “what I find challenging or difficult now.”

A recent experience was and is difficult and challenging.  Nearly weekly since mid-June, I’ve biked with my signs to Cleveland Avenue and shared their messages – “…and justice for ALL” and “Know Justice, Know Peace.”  The latter adds a bit of thinking, which seems in short supply. I learned it from Mennonites and I prefer it to the standard “No justice, No peace” chant that to me sounds aggressive.

I made similar signs for the advertised and heavily-attended Black Lives Matter demonstrations at North Broadway and High in early June, then decided my new neighborhood needn’t go without.  And I could go without a crowd or advertising, which was a bit unnerving originally and less so each time.  Cleveland Avenue is less than half the distance to High Street, anyway.

So I stand by the road, one sign facing northbound traffic and one facing southbound vehicles.  A few people honk horns or give a “thumbs up,” most ignore me, one young Black woman stopped long enough to ask what I was doing and suggest I should have a Black Lives Matter sign; none have seemed threatening.  After a half-hour or so (I don’t check the time), I count to 100 cars passing in one direction and go home.

What I found challenging and difficult was a brief interaction with a man on a 4-wheeler who had stopped at the corner and yelled something at me that I couldn’t hear.  I walked toward him, traffic noise interfering, and found myself in a “nonversation,” the message being basically, “America – love it or leave it!”  I returned to my post realizing I was unprepared for (had not prepared for) an oppositional conversation.  I had my signs, I was doing a small thing, I was doing a good, important thing.  And I had not thought to prepare a short, positive message to share verbally when necessary.

I’m challenged to find it (or them).  These events aren’t for conversation, anyway.  But if an opportunity gets to that, I want to be more ready.  Please share suggestions and I’ll practice them and rehearse with a smile that might relax everyone involved if I ever share them.