Of writing, it’s the easiest, hardest and most boring things to write about my experiences. I have trust that even if they aren’t original positions, that my character or my perspective is somehow interesting, even to someone I’ve never met.  I’m making fiction out of real events, and because of that there is a specific uncertainty in my writing.  Even when I write fiction there is a definite uncertainty in the moral that I’m trying to impart.  Even then, I’m only one set of eyes, one set of ears, and the other senses, how can my perspective be the only valid one? I suspect that true things don’t really even happen, or they happen and then it is only the intentions that we truly know.  I hope that everyone knows my intentions for writing this blog, and even if you read it or don’t read it, if I want to write, I will.

Hey here’s something from three months ago

Day 80 – Razzle Dazzle

It rained on our march into Chicago. A torrential downpour that blast through of all hopes of making this the spectacle that it could have been.  Up to this point there had been scant contact with Occupy Chicago.  The only Occupation that we knew to head for was the one in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago.  There was no bag support, so we walked with our packs across or under ( there was a lot of rain ) the bridge into the city.

It was about lunch time when we hit the border. Darrin had checked his phone for a pizza place that I don’t remember because it was closed down.  So we stopped at Pucci’s Pizza on Ewing and Indianpolis, the very southern tip of the city.  We consensed upon a thin crust pizza, half and half one for the veggie, me, and the other half pepperoni.  It would have been great to have real Chicago pizza, but that would have taken almost an hour.  We were hungry.

I still took notes on the events of the day, one day I would write them down even if the memory fades so much that those notes are almost incomprehensible.  At least that’s what I would’ve thought if I were who I am back then.  Toody, our server introduced us to a couple who were on the other side of the cramped restaurant about seven feet away. I wonder how much impact we had on them. It’s the fragile state of memory, but I am so sorry that I can’t remember their faces.  So I would forgive them if they weren’t impacted by us very much. But I can at least hope that there was a spark of inspiration.

For this day, I had not taken any notes on John, Peter or Mr. Snuggles.  I did it purposefully because they should have their own memories of this day.  Even as abysmal and disappointing as it was, the amazing thing about it is just about how average a normal day it was.  We only met a few people in the city, the server and the couple, the kids outside of a corner store, the guys at the car wash.  It still is actually a thing in Chicago to have your car hand  washed.  Of course on a day like that, they were as bored as we were.  I remember that their reaction to our walk was of the brightest of the entire day.  The jovial laughter, whether at us or with us, and the white and gold that spilled across one of the gentleman’s face in a huge grin.

I think that’s the last memory I have of the other guys’ smiling when they were together. Mr. Snuggles looked just as forced as usual, as if he felt that his smile couldn’t change anything.  Peter’s smile was with teeth tight against his lips that refused to commit to begin draw back into his cheeks.  John’s big eyes and larger sense of accomplishment.  I also smiled, but without a mirror in the memory, there isn’t an interpretation of my smile.  One of the myriad reasons to writing this.

The south side of Chicago, is built as an engineering marvel that even I take for granted now.  The street is about twelve feet above some of the entrances to homes.  In that part of the city we walked above people who were at home, sleeping, watching TV, cooking dinner, and because of this, the street we were walking down was lined with large metallic fences.  It of course made sense, if someone driving was to lose control of their car, they would go flying into the second stories of people’s houses.  When the ground eventually gained level with the road, it was interesting that the fences lined the road.

Behind one fence was a group of people who offered us many things. We stopped and I said my hellos then started walking on, John was of the same mind.  Peter walked up after a few minutes, after he had gone over one of his new ideas with the people.  I felt bad that that audience was probably not the most receptive.  After doing some things, Mr. Snuggles caught up to us.

( The past paragraph is a form of self-censorship to be addressed at  a future date. Normally I would elaborate more, but sometime in Valpo someone asked me not to write him into the blog anymore.  Of course, dear reader, you would never know that, but now you do, because this is my own blog now. )

It was actually a very short marching day, I realized as we huffed into the Occupation.  There were a couple people sitting at a table with foldout camping chairs.  Three tarps covered their supplies and there were no tents.  This was an Occupation City that already had raided their protesters.  It was a skeleton crew of an Occupy because the rest of the people were away on an action, but they said that this Occupy wasn’t actually a part of Occupy Chicago.

This was “Stop!” An action of its own to protest the closure of free mental health clinics around the city.  The birth of this Occupation was indeed violent, where people had actually barricaded themselves in the clinic before it closed.  Across the street there was a police vehicle, and as I rested and chatted with the Occupiers, I noticed a second cruiser about halfway down the alleyway to the left of the clinic.  To think, this tiny occupation had two personal guards.

And then people started trickling back in from the Action.  They stirred something up in the Mayor’s office and I heard that a few were arrested.  Word pairs like ‘handcuff injuries’ and ‘jail support’ kept being mentioned.  Something about one of their members being handcuffed to a radiator after the others made a distraction on a different floor.  It all sounded so exciting but even more so, was that this seemed like a proper Occupy, even if it technically was just a tactic, being used by an allied movement.

Henry a tall, thin guy with a scraggly beard, and concerned eyes from New Mexico invited us to wait with him at the coffee shop at the corner.  At the coffee shop we met up with Ronnie, AKA Texas, from the second march.  After the scare of the last couple days, where I heard that he had fallen ill and was sleeping under a bridge. Darrin had taken a train ride into the city to find him and set him up for the night, while we were in Gary. It was great to see Ronnie again, that raggedy old hippie filled with love and mysticism. He looked a little bit pequid and tired, but was in good spirits. 

A couple tables down, was Randall.  Who had begun our march with us way back in February.  He looked very sophisticated and sage, probably because I knew much more about him even though we spoke only briefly before the march. I chatted with him for a while, but my mind was worried about finding a place for us to stay tonight. 

Tomorrow was Mayday, and we had gotten there a day early for the victory march into the city.  I had obtained a contact in Gary, her name was Maria Thomas and she was affiliated with the Democratic party down there.  She said that she had a house in Hyde Park that we could stay at while in the City.  I didn’t peg her for a politician, but what was offered was never delivered.

Darrin handed me his phone, “Look this is the number of one of the Occupiers.”  Rachael, who as it turned out was the best person on the housing committee of Occupy Chicago.  O-Chi wasn’t completely unprepared for the protesters descending upon the City for NATO, it just wasn’t well-prepared and of course there were a lot of people who are very new to Activism.  There was an ongoing thing between me and Darrin.  He would have the contacts, but never talk to people, or do his best to get out of talking to people.  Claiming that he wasn’t good at it, and that I was better.

I never will understand that because there’s nothing special that I do, except be nice and say what we need.  Even then I still forgot to ask for some things.  To give Darrin the benefit of the doubt, even if he truly was ‘bad at that,’ does that mean he shouldn’t have at least tried? Rachael was lovely and actually called a couple guys who had an apartment that people from around the country were staying at.

Bill’s apartment is cramped, and there are going to be about 12 people staying there.  I only remember a few of them. The four guys from Miami, who have become infamous in their own way, the brothers who rent the apartment, I also meet a couple more people from Occupy Chi and then there are the 6 of us Walkupiers.

The night is spent drinking beer and partying. I write many thoughts down in my journal and play card games and apologize for my over-analysis of the events.  Randall and Texas spread out their sleeping bags in the kitchen and are already sleeping by the time John, Peter, Mr. Snuggles and I end up on the back balcony.

We congratulate each other. There was no fireworks, there was no fanfare, even on the next day, there is no official awknowledgement of our march. Just the four of us, group hugging, on the tiny back porch of a tiny apartment, on the verge of the Mayday Strike, and the month of the NATO summit. 

So that’s it. That’s the last, but not the final post of the Mayday blog, because I still have notes from all of the other days, but with the website going all defunct, I’m sure there is a need to tell the stories of my journies with Walkupy.  And it feels like I should try to at least offer closure for all the people who followed us.  Please keep an eye on my continuing adventures right here, and also check out what Sarah and Garth are doing at pursuingnothing.com, and then of course Randall is awesome at firedoglake.

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