Friday, May 4, 2012

Not completely gentrified. Not yet

Teddy’s in to talk about the evolving plans for the exodus of our Occupiers. Some have places to go. Others still not. Some still in denial. He’s concerned about some of the same people I am. We’re waiting for a delivery of suppies to get some work done. 
His friend Karen arrives. Sits down at the piano. Begins playing her bluesy music. Kamini comes in, asks for a candle. Asks how I’m doing. I shrug. She says, the closer you get to God, the harder it gets, I know. Must be pretty close then, I think, just doesn’t feel that way.  Kamini takes the candle, goes into the sanctuary, places it on the communion table, lights it, bows down, begins to pray, Karen continues her music.
John H comes in. Asks if there is a meeting tonight. I tell him there is.
Chris has a lot to say about heading home to Portland, Maine. Won’t be  easy. I have a minister friend there, maybe they can make a connection. I show him a picture of the Cinamon building downtown. Built and owned for decades  by Andrea’s Aunt Molly’s husband, Jack. I tell him Portland’s one of those places I could consider living. The ocean. The restaurants. The jazz clubs. Lobster rolls. Chowder. Hadlock Field, a mini Portland Camden yards with its Maine monster in leftfiield and the Sea Dogs. It’s okay, Portland. 
Alll of which is to say I’ll miss Chris deeply. I’ve seen him growso much since he moved in here. I’d trust him wiht anything.
I head out to a meeting in the Vllage. When I get back, Ted and Mim are sitting in the sanctuary. Karen s still playing, soulful, moody.
We go to meet in thr chapel. I’ve got a dry erase board and markers. Start where we ended last night. Our Union field work candidate has joined us. I hope we don't scare her away. The creativity and clarity begins to shine through. Maybe we still  can do both. It looks possible. My spirits lift. Lots of hard work. An action plan emerging. Assignments made. We all know what we need to do. We need to find out if the surrounding community indeed wants us here. That‘s the bottom line question. 
Karen has left. Teddy’s still waiting for me. Wants to buy me dinner. I won’t turn him down.

There are two brand new, store fresh original factory plastic bagged blankets left on the steps. 
Amsterdam Avenue north of 86th is  lined with restaurants, mostly of the quasi hip or quasi yuppie or neighborhood family variety. There’s a few rare outposts, like La Caridad Original, one of the last old school Latin (Dominican) restaurants that once filled the neighborhood. And newcomer Blockheads with its plastic cups, cheap margaritas and bouncer. Teddy asks, Bro, what’s up with the bouncer? The manager, a young African American woman says, Look, we got two projects here, right? Good looking women right? What you think is going to happen?

Teddy orders a burrito with Jamiacan jerk chicken. Me, a more traditonal picadillo. NBA playoffs on the tv. Not completey gentrified. Not yet. 

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