Thursday, December 1, 2011

Big Boy


Sarah is already there when I arrive. It’s time to dig in and see if we can make something of this benefit.   Teddy and Freddy from #OWS have arrived to do their volunteer work, repairing the holes in the floor in the chapel and Mc Alpin, stripping some peeling paint off the walls, fixing the outdoor grate on the sidewalk and bathroom plumbing work. It’s the first look at where a realtionship with Occupy might go. It’s learning what it’s like to move beyond icon and symbolism to see what a real relationship with real people might look like. 
Luli from Noche Flamenca comes looking for Danielle who’s not here yet. She’s a classic older Spanish woman anxious to be  on her way to Europe, still trying to finalize her proposal for us.  She's off to run anerrand then will be back.
Megan  from the Westside Spirit comes to do a follow up interview with me. I explain how important it is to get a word out about our Monday event even before her full story.(For today's story in the Westside Spirit go to (  I take her downstairs to see the boiler work in process. We have a long talk about where we are. Both the excitement and our painful vulnerability. And yes, the words of community support are there and well appreciated, but the reality of real money has yet to materialize. The community has yet to move beyond the romance of saving the church to understand what that really means in a real world. And highly conditioned proposals that encumber the property will never pass presbytery even if we wanted and are not ultimately helpful. It's frustrating because I don't want to hear, We tried to help and they just wouldn't listen...Someone’s got to get it that without real support, it’s all over. The dream will vanish, it will all go away. And what will happen next here is anybody’s guess. 
Megan is especially interested in our conversations with one particularly interesting and potentially controversial partner. We’re no ways ready to go public with that yet, but she and her editor want the lead if that happens. This requires patience and sensitivity. She will be there Monday to cover the event. And yes, as it so happens, her husband is a playwright. 
Next door at Barney Greengrass, I’m paying for my coffee when I look up and see a familiar bobblehead perched on a ledge. It’s the Big Boy icon from the Eat’n’Park chain in Pittsburgh, though at different times he was there with Bob’s Big Boy in Ohio and Elby’s in Wheeling. The fat kid, I always called him. Some restaurants  had larger than life statues of him in front. I used to wonder what some future archeologist would think unearthing one of these things, trying to work out what religuous beliefs were associated with this red-checkered overhaul wearing fat kid. 

Big Boy

I ask Gary if he can identify the bobblehead. They call him the Big Boy, he says. I explain the Pittsburgh roots of the fat kid. Yeah, says Gary, one of my workers brought him in. The guy’s from Pittburgh. And I remember how David, the actor and Greengrass stalwart server, went to my dad’s high school back home. 
Nan makes a quick in and out to pick up bills, leave checks. 
Marsha heads up stairs to clean. Hope and I work on making a list of major significant things that happened in every room in the church. As we’re finishing, Hugo arrives. We’ll go out for Chinese and more conversation.  This day has a long ways to go. 

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