Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Clarification

An unusual Saturday post here at Caliban's Revenge, but something I wrote a few days ago had the unintentional effect of upsetting two friends, both of whom I treasure dearly.

First, I would like to reiterate my support of the Eden Foundation and the fine work they do for persons with autism. They are one of the leaders in Special Needs Education, and the Board, Doctors, Teachers and Staff are dedicated to serving the needs of those entrusted to their hands. As someone whose first job was working as a counselor at a large special needs facility, no one understands more than I, how difficult their jobs are and how heroic they are for doing them.

While writing about the Eden Foundation's Eden Dreams event, I mentioned several reasons why I was no longer participating, one of which included the often rude, inebriated and condescending guests. My friends were quick to point out that my comments were both inflammatory and an unfair picture of the many good people who attend, as well as those who work so hard in order to put the evening together.

And they were right. And I must apologize to them for it being so broad a generalization of the many people in attendance. I have told them both that the comments are based solely on my personal experiences in the many years in which I participated. I also told them that not once, in any of the events to which I donated my time, was any true appreciation given by a single guest. Of course, participating in the event was never about receiving appreciation -- it was about doing a good thing. Unfortunately, there comes a time when one has to outweigh one's own discomfort (on more than one level) against the good one is actually doing for the event.

The varied guests at these events include Eden staff, families of Eden's beneficiaries and other invited guests who did not pay to attend for any number of reasons. These people are not at all who I was describing in my post.

Rather, the guests with whom I have had the most personal interaction, seemed to have no consideration for how difficult a long event can be for those working it. They were often loud , rude, grabby and derisive (I've been called names I refuse to repeat here). I've seen young actresses groped and ogled by guys who've had three too many. After a while, the whole thing started to take a toll on my tolerance for looking the other way, and my ability to maintain enthusiasm for what had become both a physically and emotionally exhausting event stretched to the breaking point.

Please understand, I am very proud of my association with many Eden Dreams events over the years. They are always well-planned, beautifully executed evenings (in truth, I am a little sad that I will not be able to see the Ballroom and Lobby transformed into another era; it can be quite beautiful, if nothing else), and I am sure that all of the guests have a wonderful time. And of course, more than anything, it is all for an exceptionally worthwhile good cause.

The post was (and still is) my own opinion about my personal experiences at the events only, and my personal interactions with and observances of some event guests. It in no way reflects upon the Eden Foundation; the "Eden Dreams" Creative Team and Event Planners or the other fine actors with whom I've worked the events.

I know my friends and I will work this out. We're all grown-ups and this shall pass. I am sorry that I upset them and will think twice about being so specific in my future ramblings. Regular readers just might have noticed that I am never shy to express an opinion.* And my friends both know that.

They also know that I will never not listen and respond when they express theirs.

And so it goes...


*If you think Uncle Prospero is opinionated, you should meet my sister. She has ESPMS (she's a bitch who knows everything). Love ya, sis! (and she knows I really do).

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