G.A. Minutes 4-28-15
The weather people said it might rain but we decided to take a chance and meet at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial this evening. We made the right decision; the gray clouds that had covered the sky have parted. The sun is shining, there is a very light breeze and temperatures are still in the 60s when we arrive.
The Memorial is overflowing with street folks. An Occupier takes one look at the crowd as she drives up and says, “Oh, oh”. Most of the people present have the look of zombies. Alcohol bottles are being openly flashed and passed around.
A friend who is the lead employment counselor at CHUM is present. An Occupier asks him. “So what’s going on here? Did people get paid a few days early this month?”
The CHUM worker shakes his head and says, “I really don’t know”. We invite him to join us for a fire but he replies, “No thanks. I’m just gonna do my business and get out of here as quickly as possible. Good luck.”
We set up and put out all the chairs. We think there will be quite a crowd tonight.
Some of the folks wander over to sit. Many more remain on the back ledge. The people coming to sit all appear to be quite drunk but almost all are at least acquainted with us. They know we don’t want any drinking in the fire circle so they keep their bottles in their pockets.
Among the snacks that are set out on the table is a container of hard boiled eggs. Several incredibly drunk Native people, with whom we are acquainted, gobble down the entire pile of eggs in a matter of minutes. No one else even got the chance to notice that the eggs were there. This is not a good omen.
A few of those sitting around the fire appear to be sober. These sober folks have sat with us in the past. They are a 30 something African American man and his pregnant new girlfriend. He converses reasonably as she sits quietly sucking her thumb.
There is also an older and very stylish Native woman. We are always pleased when she comes around as she is wise and puts out a very good vibe.
As per usual, the entire large crowd of zombie people gets up and goes off somewhere. As they are going one zombie points to another and calls out to us, “You’d better pray for this guy. He says he wants to kill himself”.
We are momentarily alone with the sober people. An Occupier says to another, “So what did you think about the Tar Sands Resistance Tour event that we attended last Friday?”
The Occupier replies, “I thought it was pretty good. I hope this means people are going to actually start some serious resistance to all the Enbridge pipelines and stuff going on around here”.
The sober man asks what we are talking about and we explain about tar sands and about the pipelines and all the pipeline leaks. We talk about the seriousness of the destruction of the environment.
The man comments, “Well you know, they’ve been destroying the earth for a long time now”.
An Occupier responds, “That’s right and this is pretty much our last chance to put a stop to it. We don’t have much time left to change things”.
As if on cue we hear, “Community cleanup! Community cleanup!” The zombies are returning. They are led by the loud young woman we met at our last meeting at CJM. We laugh. Some sit down by the fire; most go to the back ledge. Apparently Ms Community Cleanup is carrying some type of drugs in her bra. People are asking her for some. We hear someone whisper, “It’s the fake, fake shit”.
We know that there is still some synthetic smoke around and that it’s usually called fake weed. So now we find out there is also fake weed that is fake. We are not even going to ask……..
Many conversations are going on at once. The suicidal man is ranting about the Illuminati, 2-Pac and Abraham Lincoln. Apparently they are all connected.
Many other African American men and women are yelling at the African American suicidal man. They tell him he is blaspheming God. These yelling people don’t appear to be the type of people one would commonly find in a church but if you closed your eyes and listened, that’s where one would think that they were.
We can’t even figure out what the rest of the people are yelling about. Then we hear one man say to another, “Who you calling a bitch? Bitch!” Somebody picks up a chair.
“Whoa!” we say, “Everybody calm down”.
This is one of the rare times that we would normally call 911. However, the middle aged African American man who watches over everyone on the street arrives.
We don’t see him very often but he always manages to show up when he’s really needed. We figure we’ll wait a while and let him try to patch things up. As we begin putting out the fire and packing up, he goes over to various individuals and talks quietly with them. Things are calming down.
When the people see we are packing up, many come over and apologize for their bad behavior, tell us how much they appreciate our fires etc. etc. As an Occupier heads to her car, she says to a man she knows who has been homeless for much of his 40 some years, “What in the heck is going on? I wonder if the stars are in some kind of weird alignment.”
The man answers, “Nah, it’s just the first real warm night of spring that people can stay out as long as they want. They just don’t know what else to do”.
The Occupier laughs and says, “Yeah, I’m sure you’re right. See you again on Saturday”.