G.A. Minutes 10-27-15
Apparently, daytime temperatures will be in the 40s now. At least until things get even colder. Tonight we have a fairly strong, cold wind to add to the mix. Guess we’ll have to sit close.
The space at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial is empty when we arrive. We see a few folks up and down the street but they’re too far away for the Occupiers to be able to tell who they are.
We’ve barely started setting up when the man with dozy type nickname, his main sidekick, who we’ve christened as Birdman, and the drowsy man’s girlfriend of the week arrive.
As usual, they are drinking. The girlfriend is yelling, “Come on man, give me a drink!” The drowsy man answers, “No. Every time you get drunk you start hitting me”. She keeps demanding; finally the he gives in and lets her drink.
Then guess what happens….. She gets drunk and starts hitting him. She says, “So every time I get drunk I start hitting you? So is that what it is? You wanna fight? Come on you p—- a—- n—— (she lets loose with some seriously insulting name calling). Then she puts her fists up like a boxer and starts swinging at the man. He dips and dodges saying, “Come on now, stop it”.
The Occupiers look at them like they are out of their minds; they continue their drama on down the block. Of course, street people and others come out of the woodwork. Everybody has to watch the fight. Humans are a sorry lot, sometimes.
Reports from those who know tell us this particular couple’s battle end when he finally punches her. They separate for a while then continue their drama until he punches her again. It stops when he hooks up with another girlfriend. Once that girlfriend leaves, the couple starts the dance all over again. This couple is young; we can only hope they grow out of it.
An Occupier says to another Occupier, “I just received an email from one of the City Council members. The councilor is asking to meet with us at 5pm on November 10th. I accepted the invitation, will you go with me?” The second Occupier agrees to attend the meeting.
The drama is still going on loudly around the corner. Many street people join us at the fire. They’re looking for something more than drama.
There are several people we have not met until now. One middle aged Native woman seems familiar to us but we can’t quite place her. She tells us her name; we are amazed. She is the beautiful woman who always cries when she’s been drinking. She tells us she’s not drinking tonight and hasn’t done so for several days.
An Occupier comments that the woman’s face looks very different when she’s not drinking. She answers, “Yeah, several people have told me that. I guess I must look angry when I drink”. The Occupiers replies. “Actually, I always thought you looked sad”.
An African American man with a marijuana leaf on this hat tells a story about getting beat up for no apparent reason by some guy who was just driving by the liquor store. The guy had 2 little kids in the backseat of his car. They sat and watched as the guy beat up a stranger.
The moral of this story according to the man with the 420 hat is, “A person should not do bad stuff in front or their kids. When the kids grow up, they will do the same stuff to you. Children are not responsible for stupid shit that we, as adults, do”.
One of the street folks in the circle says to another, “I feel really relaxed here. Don’t you feel relaxed?” Everyone agrees with her.
An Occupier questions, “I know we’re having problems finding a good place to meet when it’s too cold to be at CJMM. I wonder if we could try meeting at Coney Island? It’s pretty centrally located and doesn’t have a white privilege vibe”. The other Occupiers say they think it could be a possibility. The first Occupier agrees to go and scope out the place.
Another Occupier reports, “I received a call on my voice mail today from the Fire Marshall. She wants to set up a meeting with me and the Deputy Fire Chief. She suggested the afternoon of November 4th. I can call her back tomorrow but I want someone to go with me to the meeting”. One of the Occupiers offers to accompany the requesting Occupier.
The neighborhood retired man arrives. As usual, he stands outside the circle and observes the interactions.
It sounds like the drama is returning. The drowsy man, his girlfriend, his sidekick and their small entourage come arguing up the sidewalk. As they enter the outer parameter of CJMM, an Occupier calls out, “Oh no, don’t bring that shit over here!”
They don’t listen and march right into the circle. The drowsy man asks the girlfriend to sit down and listen to him. He calmly advices, “We are gonna have to break up. You keep hitting me; I don’t like that. I don’t want to hit you and I don’t want you to hit me. You can’t seem to stop though so we’re gonna have to break up.
The girlfriend is sitting up straight and acting obedient. “Oh no”, she cries, “You love me, we shouldn’t break up”. He answers, “I am not a P—A—N—–. I don’t like it when you call me that”. The girlfriend blurts out a couple more racist slurs.
An Occupier states, “You cannot bring that kind of talk into this circle. You need to leave”. The girlfriend replies, “I’ll be good”. The Occupier retorts, “No you won’t, you cannot control your own behavior”. “Yes I can” says girlfriend. The Occupier states firmly, “NO YOU CANNOT”.
During this interaction, all the street people in the circle are trying to convince the drowsy man that he is disrespecting the circle and should leave. Drowsy Man is coming up with every excuse he can think of to avoid getting up and leaving.
An Occupier explains, “Dude, this is not about you. It’s about her. She can’t control herself and she is with you. She follows you everywhere you go so if you leave then she will leave too.
This explanation seems to satisfy Drowsy Man and allow him to save face in the fantasy world where he is king. He walks off, girlfriend follows.
The neighborhood retired man has just received an important lesson in how a community can police and provide justice to its own without interference from “The Man”.
The employment counselor from CHUM walks up. Tonight he is promoting an event that he is planning for tomorrow at noon. He says, “I’ll make a big pot of chili and there will be prizes”. After he leaves, some of the street women laugh and say, “There will be prizes! He just wants us to show that we’re interested in improving ourselves”. One woman says to another, “Are you gonna go?’ The answer is yes. He’s a nice guy and they like him.
Our friend, the neighborhood socialite stops by. Upon noticing her, the partner of the stylish Native woman whispers to an Occupier, “Is that my ex-wife?” The Occupier assures him that the socialite is not his ex-wife. The partner is visibly relieved and responds, “Oh good. I saw she was someone I didn’t know and it’s been so long that I can’t remember what my ex-wife looks like”.
Drowsy Man and Birdman return. They are minus the girlfriend. Drowsy Man is off signifying with a group of his African American acquaintances. Birdman is standing just outside the circle talking on his phone. He’s telling the person on the other end about this evening’s goings on.
An Occupier hears him say, “I’m at 3 (n-word) park”. 3 “n-word” park is a slang term for CJMM used by the less conscious street folks. The Occupier turns to the stylish woman and says, “I find it particularly fucked up when even THEY use that expression. The stylish woman just shakes her head.
The beautiful not-drinking woman comments, “I wish we could have this fire all night”. An Occupiers responds, “We do too but we have stuff we have to do tomorrow and besides, we’re going to run out of wood for the night before too long”.
Someone reminds us about the Stop the Enbridge Invasion event planned for Monday, November 2nd, noon at the Central Hillside Community Center. At first the street folks are confused, “Enbridge what?” they say. We start explaining about pipelines and wild rice and they all get it right away. “Oh yeah, we want to go to that. Tell us again, when and where is it?”
We think that if we had some flyers about the event maybe some of the street people would actually attend. We’ll ask the event organizer for flyers.
The big clock chimes 9pm; the last of the wood is burning down. Everybody helps to pack up. We expect to return to CJMM on Saturday.