Thursday, January 26, 2012

At least we saved Pony

As Danielle and I are catching up, a woman comes in, frantic. Excuse me, she says, we have an emergency...that always make me nervous. My daughter was playing with her stuffed animal and threw it in the air and...and.. it got stuck in your scaffolding...Well alright, then. I’m ready to get a ladder and Dan the Occupier but Danielle figures we can handle this with a broom.
We go outside and assess the situation. There between a beam and the scaffolding roof , a stuffed pony is perfectly lodged. You couldn’t do that if you tried. Hell of a throw. A little girl is frantic, her sister (or friend?) looking, well, annoyed. Danielle reaches up with the broom. Ah, just long enough. She pokes once, twice, and the pony comes down. 
The little girl comes to gather it up, squealing in delight. So, what’s your name? I ask. Natalie, she says. And what’s your animal’s name? I ask. Pony, she says, of course, I think....My most special friend, she says. 
Natalie, Pony, sister (friend?) and mother are soon off. Natlaie turns and waves goodbye as they head down Amsterdam. I say to Danielle, if only every probelm were so easily solved. 
Pony, how did you get there?


Natalie and Pony and friend (or sister) with unnamed animal friend

Soon after, Robert, a young father with a tiny baby in a snuggly, walks in to take a look around. He’s just moved to the upperwest from Brooklyn. Clearly on the way. He’s impressed by the beauty.
Earlier, I hear Danielle outside the door talking to someone. I can hear the subject.  Feel she’s maybe trying to protect me. So I open the door. He’s pleasantly surprised to meet the pastor. Tells me he was a bit shocked by my reported language speaking to the Occupiers. But he understands. I give my new mantra. He nods, but I can see where he wants to go with this. A random blogger. 
I’m making lots of phone calls about P______’s case. To my chagrin, it’s hard to get a hold of. Impossible. Rosalia at Gale’s office never fully understood what P______ wanted when she went in there. I don’t have any docket numbers. Even the court address doesn’t make sense.  Time is running short....
                 * * * *
It’s after 10 PM. It’s been a long Program Committee meeting at Mim’s. But I have to come back to the church.  A free lance photographer from the Times wants to speak with me. Maybe we can help reclaim the narrative.
She’s young. A little shy. But feels present. Elizabeth. Herman. She’s back from Bangladesh. Been working on a project, Aftermath. What happens places after...That’s hopeful. She tells me she’s been reading this blog. I breathe a sigh of relief. At least she’s read my understanding of what’s going on. And she wants to do a quieter story. Hopes to counter the narrative that’s out there with something more human. 
Counter what I call the idiot story, ie, bleeding heart liberal pastor opens his doors to lowlifes, they pay him back with thievery and desecration, he gets angry, sees them for what they truly are and throws them out, now knows #ows for what it truly is. Thank you, Post. Thank you, Fox. Thankyou, Murdoch. Anyone can write that. Truth is more complex, harder to come by.
I’m tired but energized. I walk her upstairs, introduce her. Rafael tells me someone else is here. Another woman with a camera. It’s Los Angeles photographer Annie Appel. Just published a book on Occupy LA, now doing a country wide gig. Been to Portland, Seattle, cross country....and now New York. Seems high energy, a little travel scruffy. 
Again, we talk. She doesn’t shoot anyone she hasn’t talked to. I look at her book, begin to trust her. I show her MattWeber's work, just to show a culture of urban photography here. She wants a good background to shoot. I show her the Session room, preferred by fashion photographers. No, the peeling paint, she says,they don’t deserve that. It fills stereotypes...So we find a couple of good walls in the sanctuary.
And before its over, she’s shooting me. Non-stop talk. Putting me at ease. Connecting. She sees my exhaustion. Standing on the balcony, I tell her the story of the Stephen window. She wears a bright light, like a miner’s headlight. I tell her don’t shoot me looking old, tired and worn, which is what I feel. She shoots good.
I take her into Mc Alpin. Introduce her. Two photographers at large. Regain the narrative. 
Jeff talks to me about how tonight they had voted to pay the rent to the church. Whoa, just tonight? I thought  was approved a week ago? He tells me it’s all good. Walks out. I feel something else is going on.
Two Mexicans come wanting me to write letters saying that they are here receiving sanctuary. I’m willing to go with hospitality. I write the letters. Turns out they’re Poblanos, from Puebla. There are so many poblanos in this neighborhood that the state of Puebla has it’s own consulate up on Broadway. They call this ‘hood pueblacita. They should go there, when this ends.
Stan is back form his new security job in the Bronx. Looking good in his blue uni jacket and badge. Stopped two shoplifters tonight, before they lifted, he says. Could have used you last week, I say. I could have used me last week, he says.  Burning midnight oil, looking for alternative housing. 
Rafael wants to talk to me. So it happened. Earlier tonight, they voted to oust Jeff. Not only from his point person position, but from the community. Jesus Christ. The coup has taken place. I say there's got to be a mediation process. And no one gets put out at midnight unless there’s an active incident. Rafael agrees. There’s more. He knows he can make this work. He is putting his heart and sou and every ounce of his energy into this. The sad and soulful look on his face is almost enough to move me away from the Saturday deadline. 
I am bone tired. Exhausted beyond belief. It’s heading towards 1. A long day, today. Jeff, gone. Today. Damn. Well, at least we saved Pony.
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