IF THE KING LOVES MUSIC…
…there is little wrong in the land. Or so an ancient Chinese philosopher claims. It’s close to 7pm last night and I’m glancing through the notebooks in Barnes & Nobel while I wait for a friend. There is no more pretty pink laptop and this little black spiral notebook isn’t going to hold up much longer. But I don’t have any cash. You see I was supposed to get this blog up and running before I start pushing the donations. And it’s hard to get a website up and running without dependable computer access.
I have taken to calling my notebook my Mexican computer. It’s cheaper and functional, sturdier with an amazing battery life. Only thing is that the processor is a little outdated. For example, it’s calculator function is limited to the user’s sobriety, and my facebook updates are only as fast as I can pass it around a room.
Ah, “M” has changed her status to “slightly annoyed at my constant badgering her to write in my notebook.” Maybe I should send her a friendly invitation to the “flying balled up piece of paper to the head” app, almost as fun as angry birds they say.
So there I was window shopping for blank pieces of paper that I could not afford, a both sad and romantic way to kill time. My friend had emailed me earlier asking if I wanted dinner. I figured this meant a break from the occupation for a couple days if I played my cards right, so I conceded. Little did I know I was going to be shanghaied into attending a Manhattan Democratic club meeting. And my hot pastrami wasn’t even the greasy monster you expect from a good hot pastrami, more like dry roast beef than greasy goodness. Philly might have the cheese steak, but LA definitely has the hot pastrami market cornered.
The way it’s been explained to me, New York City politics is very old school “club” oriented. Sort of how you had political bosses of old charged with turning out the vote. If you want anything to happen you have to network through the clubs, each claiming a distinct territory and identity throughout the city. I’m not really familiar with these types of party politic machines. So I sat in the back and just soaked everything up:
– “Robert”s Rules of Order” used in parliamentary process (no twinkles here)
– the appreciation this older crowd had for my friend’s involvement in the club
– the crazies jamming process in any group (as gossiped discretely by my friend)
It was all very interesting. I have to admit though, my tolerance was tested when a lady started a mini-stump speech for Obama, how he’s such a creative and remarkable leader and we really have to make sure his message is heard this year. Visit North Korea much do you? I mean, there’s a point at which a cult of personality becomes self-evident even to the most indoctrinated, or at least I’d HOPE.
Maybe these political clubs could do with a little youthful radicalism. We could wake up these Obama-trons and in return they could show us how to hold effective meetings, a win-win.
I wondered how this type of exchange would play out as I scrubbed down my friend’s stove. Well, I wondered about politics and also about how grease could get so caked onto a stove. What does she cook with, cement? But I don’t want to be a freeloader so I’m trying to contribute. If I behave myself this might turn into a couple nights of rest and relaxation. I could use a little distance from OWS. Plus, I have access to a computer here, aha! My blog can finally come to life! First order of business when I get a little cash in my pocket: hunt down a decent hot pastrami sandwich in this city.
My friend does have a great location though. The apt is modest enough, tiny two-bedroom shared by now four people. But she’s lucky in that it’s rent controlled. Apparently the city of New York both doesn’t like slum lords and doesn’t like keeping seized real estate on its books. Usually the city auctions off these properties to developers, but it took a small percentage of these properties, rehabbed them, and then gave ownership to the tenants.
And so a couple years of paperwork and remodeling later, that’s how my friend ends up with the title to her own two-bedroom apt on the corner of Central Park. Like, literally a block away.
I remember a couple years ago I spent the summer months taking in the city here. I’d smoke a joint and hang out with the fireflies in the evenings and walk the park the mornings. The rush hour traffic of bicyclists, joggers and power walkers fitting their brief self-indulgence among their hectic work schedule, me wandering around in flip-flops. One morning a crowd was camped out for Shakespeare in the Park, which makes tickets available the morning-of for sold out shows or something. Maybe they’re free. I don’t remember, just that there was a long line of people occupying for Shakespeare. Lucky for me I had a friend who helped fund raise for the theater that year, so I was set.
That was the year Pacino played the Merchant of Venice. Pop quiz: what do you do on opening night when you’re playing the title role and your mic goes out in the middle of a character-establishing monologue? Oh, and you happen to be Al Pacino.
You man the fuck up and raise your voice. You’re Al Pacino, yelling is what you do:
“I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we shall resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction…”
“I WILL HAVE MY BOND!!!”
That was a fun summer. This is a good place to unwind, I’ll take the break while I can. So I’ll end this post with the thought of all the reasons people camp out in public spaces, compared with all of the reasons they should…