G.A. Minutes 10-31-15
It’s been raining off and on all day; by evening it has tapered down to a very fine mist. Temperatures are in the low 40s without any wind when a couple of Occupiers arrive at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial.
We don’t expect to see most of the Occupiers this evening as it’s Saturday night and also Halloween. On a regular night with the weather being like it is, we may have decided to meet indoors. Seeing as it’s Halloween and we know the street folks would like to be able to celebrate like everyone else, we elect to stay and make a fire.
A few of our usual visitors are visible in doorways up and down the street. The first to arrive at the fire circle is a former camper who we see from time to time but we haven’t actually spoken with him in quite a while.
He’s stressed out and says he had to beat up two separate people earlier today. He tells us that he refuses to tolerate having his women friends beat up by their boyfriends. If this happens he will severely beat up the boyfriend. Once he does this, the boyfriend doesn’t beat up the woman again. He believes he is called to defend battered women. He recommends we read a book entitled “Biological God”. “It changed my life,” he says.
The Occupiers just listen, as it seems the former camper needs to vent. One Occupier gently asks, “Do you think you’ll continue your studies in firefighting school any time soon?” The camper sighs, “You know I just don’t know what I’m doing. Ever since my Mom died, I can’t seem to make sense out of anything”.
The next to arrive are a group consisting of the partner of the stylish Native woman, the cousin of the infamous street woman and a man she is with tonight.
The partner is also stressed out. He and our former camper converse regarding the source of the partner’s stress. Apparently the partner and the stylish woman were betrayed by someone they had considered to be a friend.
As is common with long term homeless people, the couple has a spot in the neighborhood, hidden from view, where they sit and rest, away from the judgmental glares of passersby and police officers.
All the street folks know where the couple’s spot is. Everyone respects the privacy of one another’s spots. Last night the betrayer called the DPD and reported where the couple could be found. This caused the partner to have a nervous breakdown. The camper states, “It’s not right what he (the betrayer) did to you. He’s been homeless and on the street in the past. He knows what it’s like”.
The partner doesn’t remember everything that happened and he hasn’t been able to find the stylish woman since. He exclaims, “I just want to see her and to know she’s o.k.”
The drowsy man enters with his small entourage. He’s complaining about his girlfriend’s attitude again. He announces he’s going to the back ledge to “finish off a 40” and invites those in the circle to join him. The cousin and her man oblige.
The fire is burning real nice; people in the fire circle gaze and contemplate.
A DPD squad pulls up and Sgt. Zwank gets out. He walks up and makes the comment, “I suppose you know why I’m here, right?” An Occupier replies, “Not really. I can’t figure you guys out anymore”. Sgt. Zwank continues, “It’s illegal for you to have a fire here and if you do, we have to tell you to put it out”. The Occupier rolls her eyes and says, “Actually it’s not illegal”.
The Sgt. responds, “What is this really about?” The Occupier answers, “I believe it all started a few days before the 4th of July. One of the co-chairs of the CJMM BOD misread something I had written and decided I had dealt him an unforgivable insult. Since then this fire and I have been the victims of his revenge”.
Another Occupier adds, “We are of the belief that all citizens are responsible to obey the laws, not just those who have lesser political clout. Our fire is not illegal so we are not willing to put it out. We are trying to show your bosses they are breaking the law”. Sgt. Zwank jokes, “Could you get that done soon?”
A couple of the street folks attempt to protest. As soon as they do, Sgt. Zwank asks them for IDs. They quickly leave; we always tell folks they are free to leave whenever cops show up. We don’t think less of them for doing so.
So the fire department arrives, 2 big fire trucks with lights flashing. The fire people are wearing different outfits again, matching tan Carhart raingear. The fire department has a lot of clothes.
Fire Captain Scot and his friend put out the fire. The just do a courtesy spray. The fire is still burning; it’s also raining again.
An ambulance comes rolling up, lights and sirens blaring. An Occupier comments, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” …… Never mind, the fire trucks are blocking the street and the ambulance can’t get by.
The circus departs and we’re left sitting in the rain chatting with the stylish Native woman, her partner, the preacher from the storefront church and a couple of friendly hippies. The preacher and the hippies are incredulous that anyone would forcibly put out our lovely little fire. Most people are flabbergasted when they hear about it.
The Spiritual Man joins us; he gives us words of encouragement and some chocolate chip cookies.
The rain lets up but the Occupiers are thoroughly soaked. We will pack up, go home, dry off and live to fight another day.
We expect that day will be Tuesday.