Friday, May 18, 2012

On the bus, let's go; Occupy NATO

Talking with Steve and Chris about last night’s first bus to take off for Chicago.  Seems like everything came off pretty smoothly. Buses finally took off around 4:30 am. Tonight will be the real test.
Danielle has arrived back from Iowa and a family wedding. There is a lot to catch up on. 
RL drops in and we continue to talk about the plan to fix that pesky grate outside that has plagued us for so long. 
Taking a break on the steps, Seth stops to talk with me. He’s from the coop to the north on 87th Street. One of the original Friends of West-Park who opposed our development plan. But then when we developed the hybrid Richman plan, he swung over and put together a group to try and support that plan in every way. Saw it in his coop’s interest. He asks me how’s it going? How do I answer that question? I talk about challenges, struggles, difficult times....He admires my courage and persistence. For us all...., he says.
                                                * * * * 
There’s always a strange quiet around 3 am on Amsterdam. Not much happening  on the street. But as I near West-Park, it’s buzzing with activity. Four buses lined up. A crowd of young Occupiers anxious with anticipation, ready to get on the buses. I see again many faces I haven’t seen in months. I feel again that adrenaline charged energy of the first few weeks of Occupy West-Park. 

I ask Chris how’s it going. He says Pretty good til just now. They’re ready to go...
Steve comes outside.  Anyone who’s not smoking, back inside. And immediately cigarette bumming becomes the order of the moment. Steven, you are encouraging people to smoke.Not sure how I feel bout that, man...and I smile and he laughs. There’s a lot to keep in order here. I wonder where all thee people have been since they left West-Park. One by one Chris and Jay are herding people back inside.  
They’ve shown Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911. And now videos from Occupy West Side Story...Gee Officer Kinski...(about NYPD police brutality) and the Debt song....when you’re in debt you’re in debt all the way... Clever and well done.    ( )
I go back outside. Dan, who’s not been here in several weeks, is lurking around the edges, now sporting a Mohawk. He’s not officially signed up. Steven preparing for a possible confrontation. Fewer people than signed up have shown up. One bus will be sent home. A wild eyed young man tries to engage me in one of those semi-paranoid conversations about do I know what’s really going on here and how do I feel about it and he was an Occupier before there was an occupy and all the drugs he’s currently on. 
Steven and one of the Nurses Union guys begin the check in, one by one. A young woman has tried to sneak on an aluminum baseball bat. When asked to produce it, she claims she threw it away, around the corner. But it turns up in someone else’s bag.Sorry, you’re not going, you signed a nonviolence pledge. That doesn’t mean bring your bat....
The Nurses’ Union guy is concerned about the guys with bandanas.. What’s this? he asks pointedly. We’re anarchists they say. Right, like they need to hide their identity on a bus ride. It’s ok, says Steven, don’t worry about it... Patrick the French filmmaker is there filming everything. Anna and Puppy are seated nearby, taking it all in.
One by one the buses are filling. It has the air of a high school field trip with Steven the Principal. It takes a lot of courage to try and pull this off. Three young girls are bouncing up and down like Tiggers, or high school cheerleaders, their lean male companion nearby. On the bus, let’s go, Occupy NATO... they cheer. 
Finally the buses are loaded and ready. Dan has tried to enter every bus and been rebuffed. Chris fears he’s entered the church, Jay reports seeing him cross the street. Makes me sad. Wish we could have done more.  It’s time to go and no sign of Teddy. Steven is well, pissed off.  I bid Steven farewell and good travel as he boards the bus. The buses are off. The New York City Occupy contingent on its way to take on NATO and the Chicago Police Force. I wish I were going. Steven had offered to hook me up to speak to the Nurses’ rally. But there’s too much going on. Court appearances, meetings. Can’t go. 
Steven boarding the bus. Travel well.
The buses are gone. The cheer leaders have another cheer  or two then bounce off to the subway. Only Chris and Jay and I are left. They congratulate each other on a job well done. They’ll be up late cleaning up. Tomorrow Jay will go to the VA hospital. He’s bee ordered to report for active duty. Again. We’re hoping his still healing fractured leg will get him a stateside desk job. For awhile. You never know. 
I’m walking home. It’s 4:30 am. And quiet again.

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