May. 15th, 2012

wendyzski: (gorey)
A day of resting and cleaning for me. Motel Z is quite busy the rest of the week, so I need to have clean towels.

 Th-Sun I signed up to host a couple of Occupy protesters coming in for the NATO summit. You couldn't pay me to get within a mile of downtown the rest of the week, but I'm a big supporter of peoples' right to go and peacefully make noise about things they feel are important. The kids have signed pledges to be respectful and not to use drugs or alcohol while staying with their hosts. I've got Alex coming in from Lancaster CA Th-Sun, and Dan from I-forgot-to-ask Oregon for Saturday night only. I might have one more for a few of the nights, since I have the foldy-couch and a cot to offer. Told them I can't do much about feeding them, but I have comfy sleeping space, hot showers, and wifi to check in with mom.
I am a little nervous - it's definitely stepping outside my comfort zone, but I think it's important.  It's not the Occupy folks I'm worried about - it's every asshole with an axe to grind who is coming to town looking for an excuse to set shit on fire that worry me. Most of these people are idealistic young people who really believe in trying to change the world through non-violent protest.  Possibly getting arrested for trespassing is likely the most provocative thing they will do.  But there are always be idiots using protest as an excuse to act out in public.  I just hope that the peaceful folks don't get caught up in too much of the chaos.

I've met a couple of the Occupy "Street Medic" squad. They've organized peeps who either have or will take first aid training, and gotten them radios and visible insignia. If someone keels over from the heat (or CC forbid some of the anarchist groups infiltrate and cause a ruckus), it's these peeps job to take care of anyone who needs it. I'm torn between admiration for the volunteers and fears for their safety.

As part of the leadup to NATO, a lot of progressive groups are doing stuff around town. One of these is an actual old hippy-style Free Store in my neighborhood for the week, so I signed up to work a few shifts this week. Did my first shift yesterday, and it was certainly interesting. (They did try to recruit me into some more of their "alternative economy" events, but were polite when I said that really, this was all I was comfy doing now). I greet peeps, re-fold clothes, generally neaten stuff up, and unpack and sort donations. I brought over a small table I didn't need and took home some arm warmers, candles, and a wok.

It's interesting to watch people as they realize that no really, everything is free. Some people immediately start stuffing bags with anything they might possibly be interested in, and others come up to me to ask if it's OK to take more than one videotape. One of the other volunteers is a terribly earnest young vegetarian with an infant in a sling as she works, while her older daughter excitedly greets visitors with "Hi! Thanks for coming! Everything's Free!" (although she is also happily working on a small collection of toy dinosaurs as they come in).

 So, in my own limited and middle-aged way, I'm contributing. Feels good.


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