Well, for those of you who picked Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m. as the moment I would officially become the cliché of the unemployed writer typing pretentiously away at my keyboard as I sip a triple mocha latte in a Boston coffeehouse, congratulations.
You won the office pool.
(Added financial bonus to those of you who also picked that I’d be the douchebag taking up the entire couch in the corner with my backpack, camera and pretentious copy of “The Best American Nonrequired Reading”).
Yes, today I opted to finally climb out of my beloved sweatpants and put on my other “big girl” pants (sans the elastic waist), hike it ALL the way to the subway and finally interact with other human beings. So far, I got two out of three (unless you count the homeless guy who thought we would make a beautiful baby together).
But it wasn’t just on a whim that I decided to exert all this effort. Oh no. Momma does not actually brush her hair and slap on some lipstick on a “whim.” I left my comfortable hermit digs on a mission. After following the Occupy Boston movement in the news and on the Twitter, I decided to go check it out for myself. Not necessarily to join…yet. I don’t know that much about it to put my incredibly questionable reputation behind it. But to simply go, hang out, talk to some people (or in other words, as my friend Billy put it, to occupy the occupation).
I mean, for a small town girl, the fact that I’m in close proximity to something like this is…well, I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t go check it out (because honestly, no one wants to someday answer their grandchildrens’ question of “Where were you when the Occupy movement was happening?” with “On the couch, eating Cheetos…but I did reTweet a bunch of other people’s experiences.”).
I mean, this is a MONUMENTAL moment in our history! People are taking it to the streets! Damn the man! Save the Empire! ATTICA! ATTICA!
Except…that’s not really what I saw. Well, not at first anyway. When I got there, it seemed to me more of a “Dude, corporate America sucks! Let’s, like, make signs and junk!” kind of deal. This was not, in fact, helped by the fact I encountered no less than four college-aged hipsters walking around downtown Boston in barefeet within the first three minutes. Granted, this is my own prejudice. I love me some odd characters but I draw the line at anyone who takes their shoes off in a situation that does not call for it. (And for you barefoot hipsters reading this, that is most situations).
Luckily, I stuck around. And talked to people who felt shoes were pretty much a necessity as well. And just observed.
And somewhere down the line, between reading the signs and overhearing conversations, I swelled with a feeling of…well, as close to patriotism as a jaded writer and journalist can get.
Because that’s when it hit me. The most important part of this protest in Boston and other cities, is that it is happening at all. It’s the process itself that’s making the point. People are PISSED. At their government. At corporate greed. At the government and corporate greed being in bed together and having crazy monkey sex.
Say what you will about their message or their methods but you know what? No revolution or major change ever happened because a bunch of white guys/college kids/soccer moms/post-op trannies sat around a bar bitching.
And in my opinion, they are making some pretty good points. You (and by “you” I mean the “guvmint”) can’t keep telling the younger generations they have to go to college if they ever want to have a semblance of a decent life only to have them emerge deeply in debt and without a job prospect to be found. You can’t keep thinking those same generations (and most of their parents) are going to be OK with you pouring billions of dollars we’ll have to pay back for wars the government keeps bungling. You can’t expect them to be all right with the fact that by the time they reach retirement, there will be no social security. And seriously, you can’t honestly believe no one would notice that the top one percent keep getting bonus checks bigger than what most of us will make in our entire lifetimes when they really, truly suck at their jobs.
Will the Occupy movements change anything? Probably not. At least not right away. But what it is doing is getting people off their complacent asses.
And that, in my book, is already a victory.
And the best part is, if you don’t like it –to steal from William F. Buckley’s famous line “cancel your own goddamn subscription” he wrote in response to an angry reader –then start your own goddamn movement.