My visit to Clearwater for the Cult City Tour this afternoon is going swimmingly and I could NOT be enjoying myself more!
I’m in process of moving hotels since the Spring Break traffic is outrageous in my former spot. At the moment I’m a homeless person.
After a beautiful morning of metal detecting at the beach, (found a dime!) followed by breakfast at a BAR (!) called Clear Sky, I hopped over to the aquarium to see Winter the Dolphin.
Moving downtown I found free parking and decided to just enjoy the beautiful weather.
Moseying down Cleveland Street I noticed the Scientology Information Center on my left, the doors thrown open wide. Remembering how they insist that “All are welcome” I thought “why not?”
Mask on I calmly and quietly wandered in.
Immediately I was asked to sign in and provide my email address, you know because of COVID-19.
I’d no sooner finished and wandered to an exhibit depicting the life and lies of L. Ron Hubbard when Amber Skjelset, Manager of the Information Center, got up and disappeared through a door. Skjelset returned with another woman who told me to leave. I asked her why as I hadn’t done anything to cause upset, and she told me that I was with the Cult City Tour.
I acknowledged this and said, “well I’m just trying to get both sides, here.”
Neither woman bought it and they repeated the order to leave so I did.
Throughout it all I remained calm, quiet and polite. When asked to leave I did so after wishing them both a nice day.
Interestingly I’m noticing that Ft. Harrison is a dividing line highlighting a stark contrast between Scientology’s side and the rest of Cleveland Street.
As I sit here at a Starbucks on the corner of Cleveland and Ft. Harrison the difference is dramatic.
On my side of the street there are all these businesses and music. People are gathered outside eating and visiting.
Directly across the intersection, where Scientology’s Information sits on the corner, there is absolutely NO one to be seen.
Note that Cleveland street is closed to cars, not pedestrian traffic.
The empty silence is sad to see when so contrasted to the life and happiness around me.
Looking forward to the tour later but this experience has been an eye opener. Actually seeing the vacant sidewalks, the empty benches while behind me families and friends are laughing and living….