I began the day by training in the gym. It was a strange experience because the lights had failed and so the entire gym was in darkness, but everyone was allowed to train nonetheless – I have never had the experience of training in the dark before so it was a bit weird!
I drove back and got into the office for 9. I spent the day working on the third chapter of my book, pulling together the edits and doing the references. It is almost there – just a final pruning to cut the words back, and that means I am ahead of schedule with the book as I had given myself another two weeks for this chapter – but good to get it out the way before my mum and sister come so I can relax. Also, I need to prepare my lecture for George Mason University next week. I also spent time making arrangements with a reformed gang member who has agreed to be interviewed – I will do a telephone interview with him via FaceTime tomorrow.
Mid-morning I went out for a coffee to Starbucks. As I was crossing the campus I came across a very unusual public display all about abortion. There were rather grotesque images on some of the pictures, and the main guy who had brought the display to campus approached me on the way over to ask me my opinion about the issue. The display had been erected by an organisation called the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. I didn’t really want to get into a debate about the issue of abortion in the middle of the campus when I was just on my way for a coffee, but the guy soon told me his opinion – which was very conservative – basically that all forms of abortion are a breach of human rights. In as diplomatic a way as possible I said to him that it was an ‘interesting debate’ and managed to get away from him! It struck me as a very unusual campaign to be launched on a university campus, but when I came back across I noticed that some students from FAU had begun mounting a very peaceful counter-protest – there were some young women with signs reading ‘My body – my choice’. It was interesting to see this type of organisation present and this type of debate and counter-protest going on on the campus and something we just do not see happening on our own campuses in Scotland.
I had a full and very busy day working on my writing and preparing for my fieldwork today and I feel that I have caught up with myself a little bit. I had a Skype call with Karen and Alan and then I left work at 5 and went back and had dinner. After that, I went round to the yoga centre and had a very good yoga practice – only three people there, and the practices were challenging but relaxing. I left feeling very good!
Tomorrow I have my first interview with a reformed gang member here and then a visit to West Palm Beach.