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Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy Cubicle

I'm sure that it goes without mention that Occupy <Insert Disillusioned City Here> has taken up much of the time and energy of the nation, whether it be the protesters themselves or the news outlets that cover these demonstrations, or the political opposition that rages in disgust of people's ability to gather and occupy for the eradication of corporate businesses.

Now that National Public Radio is basically the only way that I receive news updates, I've enjoyed the in-depth and non-biased coverage of this growing nation-wide dilemma. Previously, people were interviewed at the Occupy Grand Rapids demonstration and I got to hear of the plight (and by plight, I mean something that people have had to do for years) of a college graduate that waits tables while he writes a book about the usage of the English language. This young man still works and pays his bills, but does what he can to come down and demonstrate in his off-time. I turned this situation over and over in mind, while trying to formulate an opinion about how I feel about this growing phenomena of people occupying space in order to convey a message that they're tired of corporate greed and 1% of the population controlling almost all of the wealth. They want a new way to run businesses in this country. It's a commendable notion.

At first, I was irritated at the notion of Occupy Wall Street. How could people that have both the time and the money to sit in New York City of days without end...possibly understand the plight of a middle-management cog at the corporate branch of XYZ bank in Sheboygan, Wisconsin? As the Occupy movement branched out, though, I felt hope that there were people like me occupying the streets in search of a better world. Then, a website was established where could send people the things that they were requesting in order to continue to occupy.

Fuck You. No, really.

I guess you can really only lash out against the greed of this country as long as you have shampoo and organic fruit, right?

While listening to NPR, a point was made that most of the people that occupy are, in fact, college students because they are afraid of becoming disillusioned with the job opportunities that the world has to offer, because they're unemployed themselves, or because they're generally still wrapped in the swaddle of the wide-eyed idealism that is academia. Whatever the reason, you've made the decision to occupy...somehow, I don't see how it is my responsibility to provide you with the things that you feel you need to so.

There was a sign that I saw at the local magistrate when I was fighting my speeding ticket, and it is a saying that has forever stuck with me:


I should tattoo this pearl of wisdom right across my lower back and do the tramp-stamping world a favor.

I initially started this post several weeks ago but haven't found the time to finish it, because I have two jobs, a marriage, a home, and a life to tend...the things that seem to suck political activism right out of a person. I'm ashamed of myself in that regard, because I often find myself too tired to care and too disillusioned to not be too tired. Voter apathy strikes again.

I still, though, spend a considerable amount of time listening to National Public Radio and really trying to gain insight into what both sides of this Occupy <Blank> must be feeling and try to relate to the overall message of creating an economical system that could benefit everyone. Most recently, a group of protesters in Oakland have caused a shut-down of the port there, and have defaced some property. If people that are tired of the poverty that seems to be engulfing the middle class, why would they shut-down a business that employs hundreds of people? Whether you disagree with their business model or not, those people still have to work. They still have families to take care of and they still have lives to lead. Why do you feel as thought you can make decisions for them about when they're going to work? Why deface property in the middle of the night like some kind of passive-aggressive dickless wonder?

I'm all for a violent upheaval, but if you're going to do it, you need to really level it and build it up again, ala Fight Club. This petty spray-painting bullshit is better left to trust-fund kids with art degrees and a smug sense of self-worth.

When I occupy my cubicle and I'm listening to the 24-Hour News Stream, I daydream when I should be working. My heart is often places with the very core of the very first people that occupied Wall Street: those that want to demonstrate that they're tired of the system that is in place and they want money to mean living a good life and not necessarily power. My anger also finds its way there, too. It rests on the shoulders of those short-sighted individuals that smash a window now because they think they're making a difference. In the long run, that is what history will remember, if it remembers Occupy Wall Street at all.
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

...black plastic...

My neighbor died this week.

I'm not really sure when, but our downstairs neighbor said that they took him away on a stretcher and he already looked dead.

We hadn't heard a thing, but saw family that we'd never seen before...taking bag after bag out of his apartment to their vans. The rest were lined in a row beside the building. Big, black plastic bags with blue ties.

They told me that the garbage bags would go tomorrow, when the dumpster arrived to cart everything out.

The frost had defeated Operation: Grandma Garden, and my neighbor's tomatoes were still tied up and green. While I was cutting and bagging stem after stem of frozen and dead coleus, impatiens and zinnia, my hands were freezing and growing redder.

A woman came out and locked eyes with me. I said that I didn't know what happened, but that I could help.

"My Dad passed away."

"Well, I can clean out all of the plants if you want."

"That would be awesome."

I'd never seen her before. Never at Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter. Never on Birthdays, Sunday dinners or Father's Day. Just today.

My downstairs neighbor said that alcohol was what was going to kill him. Her daughter said loneliness.

Probably both.

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