I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
February 06, 2017 - 12:25 p.m.
Oh no, I almost started right in writing about the exciting thing I did yesterday instead of making excuses and talking about food and commuting first. Whew; good thing I caught it.
Yesterday I went to another protest; the perfect kind for me.
I went with Brianne. First, we planned some quality time together, after some misunderstandings we met by Penn Station a few hours before the start. What exciting things did we do before the show? We walked down to Washington Square Park. On the way, Brianne made some new photographer friends.
That's at the corner of Greenwich and 6th. It's called the Paparazzi Dogs by Gillie and Marc. They are Australian, There's one in Melbourne. Joy and Daniel, have you seen the statues? Do you know these guys? Check them out. Gillie and Mark Public Art Projects.
I guess that all My Gentle Readers don't know that Brianne is a photographer. That's why she has that camera. She was taking a picture of me while I was taking this. I don't have dogs in my pic.
This was extra appropriate for us as we spent the rest of our time people watching and dog watching. Washington Square Park is a great place for both. We sat on a bench near the fountain until we saw people gathering under the arch and made our way over there. I spotted Jean Rohe setting up. I knew she'd be there, she's the one that told me about it. Liam was there too, with not just a banjo but also a bodhran, his father made it. I'm still learning new things about my him. There were many other musicians there too. I met the woman that organized it. I wish I could remember her name, she did a great job. There was also a delightful accordion player. I wish I could remember her name too. I just told my therapist that I'm getting so much better at remembering names. There was too much going on and I didn't make the effort right away so it is lost.
They handed out lyric sheets, as we were there early we got them. The light was good and my vision was particularly good so I could read them with no problem with my glasses on. It must also have to do with the font. Whatever it was, I was grateful.
The crowd was a nice size when we started and it kept growing. I don't know the full extent, I couldn't see to the back. There were many photographers and videographers there but I didn't see anyone clime up to get an overview of the crowd. I'll just say that there were a one-and-a-half million people there. The biggest crowd for a community sing ever; much bigger than at the inauguration.
Right after we started I saw Anaïs standing by Jean. By that time there were so many people there that I couldn't make my way over there and didn't think I should try. The Musicians were on one side of the circle and most of the crowd on the other side so we could face them and hear the instruments. Abby was supposed to join us and I kept looking around for her. Abby is Brianne friend and camps with us at The Budgiedome. I decided to call them, and Katie and Brianne's other friends who join us, Budgiedome: The Next Generation. If Steve is Kirk I guess Brianne is Picard. I can be Spock, Paul is clearly Uhura, I guess that makes LORi Dr. McCoy. Abbie is an engineer so she's Jordy. I don't know Next Gen well enough to know who Katie should be.
Ok back from the ellipsis. I found Abby standing right next to Jean. I waved and she saw me and joined us. Here's my question, were any of my other friends there? I sent invites out to so many of you and kept posting links on my timeline. I thought this was the perfect protest for my people. You could make it home in time for the Super Bowl. The only one I know was there was Sandi because she posted about it on Facebook. Then I caught her in one of Brianne's photos.
A community sing-a-long for freedom is just as magical as it sounds. We sang protest songs and spirituals. I sang so many of the songs with Pete Seeger. His versions are always canonical in my mind. That doesn't work in group singing as that's not how anyone else is doing it.
In addition to the organizers other people showed up with instruments. One guy had a trombone, he was right near me. The first time he started playing everyone stopped singing and he did a solo. You would have thought it was planned. The woman next to me pulled out a uke. That's a lot easier and expected. There were a lot of ukes.
As time went on the circle kept expanding and shrinking and people kept pouring in so there was moving around., Eventually Anaïs made it next to us and I could say hi and give her a hug. Everyone should have hugged everyone else; that was the vibe. Some people don't want to be hugged by strangers so you can't ask everyone to hug. You might have noticed that I'm not one of those people
Trump found his way into a few of the songs but never by name; he was always referred to as the president. For the most part everything was positive. This was not a protest against as much as a protest for welcoming and helping refugees, immigrants, Muslims, blacks, and anyone else that faces oppression. When "Black Lives Matter" was inserted into a song I noticed the one disappointment, there were so few people of color there. We need to reach out and not just protest for them but with them. The entire point, at least to me, is that they are not the other, they are part of us.
This was not just a feel-good event. Money was raised for the ACLU. There was a guitar case right by us that was filled with money. People also went around with bags and collected from whoever wanted to give. I hope they announce how much was raised.
We got to the point of repeating songs and the crowd getting less organized. Brianne and Abbie left as did I short time later. Jean was still around but on her way out and I said goodbye to her. Look out there might be more community sings. Come next time.
The country is in crisis and people are responding by coming together. I keep getting struck by this. There is some vitriol but there's more working together. People are going out of their way to be nice to each other. Instead of getting testier people are acting nicer. It's bringing out the best in us.
I remembered that I needed food and went to the Stop & Shop in the Bronx on the way home. The store is very nice and it's huge so it has what you are looking for. It's reasonably priced. But it's not Trader Joe's. the difference is the help. I couldn't find the sliced American Cheese Food. I asked someone where it was and she said over there with the produce. You enter the store through the produce section and I knew it wasn't there. Another worker joined in and insisted it was; 'It's with the cottage cheese, butter, and other produce." Have produce and dairy become little known technical terms?
I had great luck with the buses. The bus that goes right by the store leaves only once every half hour. The bus I transfer to leaves every half hour. Google maps thought I'd just miss the connection. It was wrong. I just made the connection. That saved me half an hour and as the entire time on the buses was half an hour that's a lot.
I did not watch the Super Bowl even though I cared about this one. I am a good person so I hate the Patriots. In case you live on another planet and haven't heard, they came back from 28 – 3 to win in overtime. I should have watched, the best Super Bowl ever even though evil triumphed.
I missed it because I was busy blogging Did you see that one? If not read it now, it's about the Joe Crookston's Imagine Nation concert. It was not just another concert. Read about it, Imagine Nation.
Now to eat. I'm starved. What's on the menu. I will find out when I reach the kitchen. It often comes down to how long I'm willing to wait to eat. Sometimes I make what I can make the fastest.
Walk on By - February 11, 2017
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