A Quiet Day for Union Square Occupation

I went to Union Square yesterday and worked the info table for a couple hours with Rich, but I had to split in order to attend my friend’s going away party. It was pretty quiet, even though a large march came in the middle of my shift. One confused older woman kept coming back every 5 minutes asking me where someone named Andy was, growing more upset each time she asked. Another face of the perpetually lost.

I spoke with Stan, a friend from Liberty Plaza. He’d gotten arrested with the Occupy Media team and was held in the tombs for 3 days. He eventually gave in to the police request for an iris scan on the promise he’d be let out sooner, and was, but only an hour sooner than anyone else.

“I know I have an ACD, but I feel like I need another arrest to get back my arrest cred. How many times have you been arrested?”

“Just the one in Albany.”

“I think I should do it on a Tuesday. The last one was on a Tuesday.”

“You’re planning this??”

“Yeah, thinking about it. Saturday seems passe, too many people get arrested on Saturdays. Sunday is too slow. Gotta be a Tuesday.”

“Well, good luck with that.”

Today I came to Union Square only to find out the Info table had been confiscated by the police the previous night. I wandered around a bit and settled down to do some reading for a class.* I got some done, but mostly I kept looking around distracted. People kept screaming nonsense and harassing each other, apparently thinking they were on the set of Maury. The numbers really dwindled today. People were holding each other “accountable” for whatever insults they’d hurled at each other on the e-mail groups over the winter. Getting the internet involved as a communication medium in this is a bad idea, but it’s too late to turn back.

I ran into A. He smelled like rubbing alcohol. I saw him last on the subway. I’d noticed he’d lost some weight, which I presumed was a booze weight. I guess I was wrong. He must just not be eating. His eyes lacked luster like fried yolks.

“You want to get a drink?” he asked.


We walked a couple blocks to a bodega. He grabbed a 4 Loko and I grabbed a can of ginger ale. The clerk had the paper bag the size of a can of 4 Loko precise ready. A acknowledged the bag with a familiar “Grazi!” and we walked out.

“I got a ticket for this the other day you know.”

I nodded. You don’t get in many interjections with A.

“It’s fucked up. It’s either a $25 fine or 5 days in jail. Usually a 4-5 day stint in jail they’d set the fine at something like $300-$400. I’m going to fight the fucking thing, but seriously, that’s the fine?

“They got rid of the brown bag laws. That’s a sign of a neofascist state, they won’t just let you kick it in the street. I’m a grown adult, an international lawyer,-”

He took a sip of the 4 Loko from the bag. I think it was grape.

“-and I just want to have a fucking drink on the street you know?”

He kept talking about some court case he’s being flown out to California to work on that he claimed was worth $1.23-1.85 billion. The details kept shifting. Nobody is giving a guy with a graying hoodie drinking 4 Loko from a bag on the street a case like that. Still, the odd swagger persisted.

“I was talking with a friend the other day, and he said ‘Man, you’d be the best billionaire ever!’ and I was like ‘Yeah, I kinda would be.'” He walks with a lurch and gesticulates like he was trying to indicate a pregnancy.

A, if you’re reading this, get help.

When I got back to Union Square there was nothing doing. I took the train home.

*Michel Foucault-History of Sexuality Vol. 1

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