G.A. Minutes 5-23-15
Weather wise, today has been a perfect day. Mostly sunny, temperatures in the high 70s with a slight breeze. This evening promises more of the same.
Except for the always slow to awaken oak trees, all the leaves are out and everything is green. This is what we wait for every year.
A lone Occupier arrives a little early at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. She brings a lawn chair and sits in the shade.
A few people whom she is vaguely acquainted with are sitting on the back ledge. She nods pleasantly to them and they respond in kind.
The Occupiers are always careful not to force themselves upon anyone. If the neighborhood folks what to interact they will come over.
The gray haired woman who has been a visitor at the fire circle for many years is walking down the street. When she spies the Occupier she comes right over and says, “Oh good! I keep forgetting that you guys meet here every week. I’m just returning from having dinner at the Mission. I’m really glad I came this way”.
The Occupier opens another chair and invites the gray haired woman to sit. She says, “So what’s new?”
The gray haired woman answers, “Well I’ve just discovered the Mission. It’s a whole new dining experience. I generally walk up to the Domiano for my meals but they only serve a couple times a week. The food is good there but the clientele are mostly other senior citizens. They’re very quiet and everything is closely supervised.
The food’s not as good at the Mission but they serve every day and the place is filled with younger people laughing and joking. Things are sort of disorganized. It’s more my style. I really like it”.
More Occupiers arrive. The gray haired woman helps with setting up.
Many of the regular street people appear. Most are hoping for hard boiled eggs. We have a large container of them and they disappear almost instantaneously.
The gray haired woman comments, “I don’t think I’ve eaten a hardboiled egg in years”.
One of the regular street women is visibly intoxicated from something or other. She is stuffing eggs into her mouth and bumping into things. Her sister, who appears only mildly intoxicated, chastises her and then gets her settled on the ledge.
Folks are making small talk, an Occupier is lighting a small fire when the mildly intoxicated sister begins yelling, “The whole family is just sick of you! You’re shooting heroin again! You’re ruining your life!”
The yelling is so loud it echoes up and down the street. A squad car pulls up.
An Occupier calls back to the ledge, “Hey girls, you’d better chill. We have company”.
Another squad pulls up. Both officers jump out of their cars and come running to the sidewalk. Many of the street folks, their mouths full of eggs, quickly wander off.
The yelling sister runs up to the cops and starts loudly telling them about her sister’s heroin problem. The heroin using sister yells, “If you’re gonna tell on me, I’m gonna tell on you!” She then lets loose with just about every cuss word known to mankind.
The cop calls heroin sister by name and says, “You need to knock it off right now!” He tells the other sister to walk away.
Then the cop comes over to the fire circle and says pleasantly to the Occupiers, “Are these people bothering you? Do you have any complaints?” We answer, “Oh no, they’re not bothering us. Everything is fine”. The cop says, “Well if you need anything, just call us”. Then the cops leave.
We look at each other and say “WTF?” We figure the DPD has finally realized that street folks tend to act a little calmer when we’re around, but this is ridiculous. Treating us like we were high class 1%’ers? We don’t much care for that.
The heroin sister is left sobbing alone on the ledge. “I don’t want to go back to prison”, she cries.
We are all used to this kind of drama and there’s nothing we can do to make things better for her so we just leave her crying. Eventually, a street man comes and sits down beside her.
Anyway, so a couple of Occupiers start putting the grill on the fire for the first batch of hot dogs. As they do so, another Occupier remarks, “The grill is on upside down. All the dogs are gonna roll to the edges”.
The dog cooking Occupiers keep doing what they were doing and the dogs start rolling to the edges. They try to adjust the grill, it falls down and dogs start falling into the fire.
The Occupiers are quick though. They rescue the dogs in a flash; only 3 are sacrificed to the fire gods.
An Occupier whispers to the gray haired woman, “Well, I tried to tell them”.
The dogs are doing fine and another bunch of people arrive. A few we know but most we don’t.
All are friendly and polite. All love hot dogs.
Apparently, seagulls love hot dogs too. They start swirling above, then land en masse on the building roofs, waiting for their turn. Eventually they figure out they’re not going to get a turn.
Seagulls are supposed to eat fish.
A man on a bicycle rides up and asks for a dog. The gray haired woman says teasingly, “If you want one you have to sing us a song”.
The man sings a way cool song from the 60s. Another man arrives; he sings too. He has a nice voice.
Some of the regular street folks return but the food has all been eaten. Everyone sits around, conversing agreeably.
The gray haired woman observes, “This is so multicultural. This is what America is supposed to be about”.
Suddenly a short blonde woman we have seen before arrives. She is looking for trouble and hurls insults at several of the street people.
The men take it in stride; at first, they look bored. She then starts in on some of the women, trying to physically push them.
One of the women says, “Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve never seen you before in my life”.
As far as we can gather, there had been a fist fight earlier in the day. Someone was attempting to sell oregano as some type of drug and the rest of the folks on the street called him on it.
Somehow the berserk woman’s son was involved. The street folks are trying to explain to the woman what the problem had been. The woman refuses to listen.
Soon the woman is trying to face down about 20 street people. We think she must be a meth head or something.
An Occupier advises, “Maybe if you just stopped responding to her, she’d take her attitude down the street”.
Eventually that’s what happens. Most people just turn their backs on her and she goes off yelling down the street.
A DPD SUV pulls up and an Occupier goes to talk with the officer. The officer asks what just happened. The Occupier responds, “Oh, some people were fighting but they’re gone now”. End of story.
A couple of Occupiers who live just up the hill arrive. They look really tired. They tell us they took a mentally ill, homeless woman from out of town into their home last night.
She kept them up all night with her nonstop talking and by morning she began to criticize them and make unreasonable demands. They had to ask her to leave but are now feeling worried and wondering what will become of her.
An Occupier reminds everyone, “We won’t be here next Tuesday. We need to go to the City Council meeting at 7pm. We need to back up the homeless advocates when they make their request for City funding for the Housing Access Center”.
It’s dark now. We are all pleasantly exhausted.
The remaining street folks help us pack up. The gray haired woman says, “Now that I’ve found you again I hope I can remember that you’ll be back here again next Saturday at 6pm”.
We hope she remembers too.
G.A. Minutes 5-23-15