Yea, so I went to the Rally in Tally for the big "Occupation"... It was just like all the other demonstrations in town, if you don't count the pro choice demonstration back in the early 90s. It sucked. There were about 20 people who most of the mainstream would consider off beat or motley looking standing by the side of the road with signs. That's it. It was very uninspiring, and the energy was non existent. If anything the energy was very low with more than a hint of anger.
I saw an acquaintance who was taking part in a circle group of some kind... at first it looked like yoga, but no, they were learning how to run grass roots meetings successfully... Too bad they didn't have this lesson before the demonstration actually began.
There were no bathroom facilities that I could see. There may have been some portos out in the parking lot, by the camp site, but I don t really remember. That is the part they got really right. I'm sure "they", whomever "they" are had to apply for permits and etc, as there were lots of tents in a roped of green area near a parking lot where we were allowed to park! Down town! Imagine, free parking down town! That was cool, but not really worth the price of admission if you ask me.
I tried to get into it, I really did. I found a tambourine and shook it crazily each time a car honked in support. No objects or obscenities were hurled from the windows as they sometimes are. There were also no food vendors, musicians or the crackling energy of solidarity and possibility. Only a few geeks, freaks and hippies standing around wanting to make a difference with no leadership or organization. It was not really plugged in the media here at all as far as I could tell, although there was a sign on one of the tents that said "MEDIA", so I guess they were there. There was no marching or chanting or networking or even friendliness among the people who turned out.... so we stayed for half an hour or so before bequeathing my tambourine to a young child and finding another stray tambourine for her brother to jingle and jangle. Something that I felt was better suited for a child and would hopefully keep them from being bored to tears.
At that point we (me and my friend) left and went home to brainstorm about her first upcoming research paper. She is in the doctoral program at FSU in strategic management. It's strange how we met. We met at one of our mutual best friend (Monique's) funeral. I was Monique's best old timer friend and she was her most recent. Moni and I sort of lost track of each other quite a bit over the years, but always reconnected as if no time had passed. Anyway, that is how I met Ellen and now we are becoming very good friends. Oddly, Monique and I went to our first demonstration together. It was that pro choice rally I mentioned above in the 90s. She and her boyfriend (turned widower of 20+ years), me and my squeeze and another couple went and raised total hell. We brought brought a thermos of bloody mary's I believe. It was great and energizing and felt like it was making some kind of difference, raising awareness or some damn thing.... This one did not, but it kind of felt like a full circle moment now that I was taking Ellen to her first demonstration.
When we got to Ellen's we did that brainstorming and I think it helped her to just talk it out with someone, even though I'm not a REAL biz person. Then we spent the rest of the evening drinking beer and reminiscing about Monique and tell tales of her antics and brilliance and how she changed both of us for ever. It was really good as we both don't have many if any others who truly understood her to the same degree. We both needed it.
So now I'm in the Ms Moon camp. I think I don't do protests anymore. Or at least not until or unless I know there is some kind of organization behind it. I'm too old for this shit. But the evening was saved by friendship and beer... and sometimes, that's as good as it gets.