You’ve all thought about doing it. You’ve all been feeling guilty for not doing it. You’ve all thought to yourselves, “I better not let this monumental uprising pass me by without being a part of it because this COULD be the defining moment of change in our era of war, greed, destruction, pollution, and inhumanity towards the third world and lower class.” But you’ve all been too chicken, too busy, or too lazy to get your ass down there and go participate. At least I have. But finally, I participated!! I did it!!! I went to Chipotle and made such a huge burrito that they couldn’t close it properly!!
I also went to Occupy Denver’s November 17th “Day of Action.” And what a day of action it was. For me the day started late, at roughly 9:36 am. My alarm never went off since it was set for PM and not AM, resulting in a cascading wall of tardiness and high cortisol levels that lasted throughout the day and is still following me even now. I was late, am late, and will forever be late unless I can find a way to add a nonexistent 36 minutes into the span of my lifetime. Unfortunately this is not possible since time is not a commodity or a physical thing, only a relationship between speed and matter…present and known to us solely based on our “productivity” and the productivity or movement of the matter surrounding us in the ever expanding universe(s). Maybe if I hold real still…
The rally in Denver started at 12pm. I woke, made my oats, made a map to Denver, ate my oats, listened to Rage Against the Machines (in my head), dressed in my cycling clothes, and began the ride down to the shit hole that is Denver. Denver is an urban sprawl nightmare. If you hate its airport’s rediulous and confusing terminal branches, just imagine that times four. Or maybe even five. Yeah, it’s bad. No bike lanes. Tons of traffic. Tons of careless drivers. Lots of Kennett flipping cars off and yelling at people. Good anger-building for an angry demonstration. I spent a mile or so on the freeway by accident.
I got to the Occupy rally, which began at the Mayor’s building, about half an hour late. Luckily everyone was still there. Ha. “It’s not like they have jobs to go to or anything”, says CNN, ABC, FOX, etc. Actually, many of them did have jobs. And more people joined on their lunch breaks. I leaned and sat on my bike while people took turns using the microphone, chanting out a sentence and waiting for the crowd to chant it back. Some people had inteligent things to say, some did not. Everyone’s heart was in the right place though and I enjoyed the leaderless-ness of it all. There were a few key people that took charge in getting things moving along, but they didn’t really have too much authority compared to the group consense. At one time a large group of people started chanting something when one of the key people was talking. He tried to get them to be quiet, but ended up just waiting until the chanting fizzled out. Majority DID seem to rule here! Mic check!
I got a bit bored, and was hungry from my ride down there, so I took off in search of the Chipotle, which I’d google-mapped that morning of course. In the process of riding off, a couple bike cops jokingly gave me a hard time about getting to leave already when they had to stand there all day in the cold. “Hey, I’m hungry. I’ll pick you up something at Chipotle though if you give me six bucks,” I said. They laughed but said no thanks. Judging by the look of them, they probably didn’t NEED to eat that anyways, assuming they wanted to be able to catch anyone on those bikes.
I found the Chipotle and ate my GIGANTIC burrito inside in the warmth of the bustling restaurant. There must have been 100 people in there, almost as much as the Occupy rally. I was almost done with it when I saw a crowd and a thousand or so police cars, bikes, horses, and motorcycles come down the street just past the Chipotle. Perfect, the rally had followed me. I ran outside, got my bike, and crammed the rest of the delicious burrito down while I caught up to the protesters. The size of the group had grown ten or twenty fold in the last half hour and now there were well over 1,000 people all chanting, yelling, talking, laughing, and carrying signs. It was pretty cool. But the amount of police was staggering. Simply ridiculous. To me it was obvious that they were there in an attempt to antagonize, humiliate, and scare the protesters. Their presence was nothing more than intimidation, sent from Wall Street itself. If you think we live in a free society, think again. Yes we do have it better than a lot of other places, but by no means are we a free democratic society. And free speech does not exist here. Just spend some time searching for recent police brutality on youtube if you don’t believe it. The way the news portrays the protesters is sickeningly corrupt. Corporate news is a means to distract the populace so nothing gets accomplished in government and the corporations who own the media, government (and police) continue to get exactly what they want.
We stopped in front of some large monetary building or something and more people took turns using the “people’s mic” while everyone chanted along with them like the Borg. I felt a bit awkward doing it but decided to give it a try. In the end I came to the conclusion that I didn’t like voicing another’s thoughts, even if I agree. I prefer to stand back and speak my own mind if anyone cares to listen, though again, I did like the process of how things were run. No true leader, not really any arguing, friendliness yet impassioned anger at the same time. Lots of it geared towards the puppet police, who, here in Denver, have carried out many heartless beatings, macings, pepper spraying, gassing, and imprisoning of the Occupy People.
The crowd pressed on again after 20 minutes, heading off to some other iconic destination I presume. I rode along with them until a bike policeman asked me if I was with them. I told him yes, I was. He said, “Don’t you think it’s a bit strange that you’re here on an $8,000 dollar bike?” I told him no, it wasn’t. And that it wasn’t an $8,000 dollar bike, it was my only form of transportation, I rode 35 miles to be here, and that despite riding an expensive bike I was not part of the 1% by any means. And by the way, “how much does your car cost?” He then asked if my sponsor would approve of me being here in my kit. I said yes, “I’m pretty sure he would.” I told him my team’s sponsor isn’t a Wall Street banker or a heartless corporate leader of Wall mart (Both tainting the word wall), and that my sponsor was in fact a class action law firm. They were the first to sue big tobacco, the suers of Exxon for the Exxon Validez oil spill, and currently the law firm going after the criminals responsible for the gulf oil spill, BP. I told him Hagens Berman would most likely be proud of me being here, since they’re in the business of standing up for the little guy. I didn’t say it so elegantly, but I got my point across. That shut him up. It was obvious he was oblivious to the reason why we were all out here. Just another dopey cog in the machine.
Then we got to talking about cycling. Turned out he was an ex-kilo track rider (explains the dopiness) in the 80’s and a former member of the national team. We soon began talking shop about the Tour of Colorado and such. After some chummy conversation I snuck in a question asking him what he thought about the Occupy Movement. He said he was confused about what it was all about and I could tell that he didn’t fully support it, though I’m betting this was the kindest he’d ever talked about it and probably didn’t speak that kindly about it in front of his colleagues. I told him it was unfortunate that it had become a cops vs. protesters thing, and that I hoped he saw that that was not at all what it was about. He agreed. I said goodbye and took off since I had a job interview at 4.
I got lost.
Denver is big.
I found a cyclist and asked him where highway 121 was. He took me through the city and eventually decided to ride up to Boulder with me. Good Samaritan #1 of the day. We had to stop off at his house first so he could fill his bottles. There was a huge afternoon headwind to do battle with.
As we wound our way up to Boulder, going a much different and much more zig-zaggy way than I’d come, I grew more and more anxious about how late it was growing. My oversleeping was still haunting me and it looked like I’d be late to my interview at the movie theater. He couldn’t hold my wheel in the wind and I eventually dropped him (but explained my situation first). From then on it was Kennett vs the Headwind. I spent much time cursing.
I got to the movie theater late. Only about 11 minutes. I was in my cycling kit, which hadn’t been washed since…..?
I left 10 minutes later. The woman who I was supposed to interview with said that since I was late we’d have to schedule a time for tomorrow. Ironically, I left having possibly lost the job due to being at a protest about how there are no jobs available.
But never fear, I did get a re-schedule for tomorrow. And I’ve never not gotten a job after getting an interview. Oh wait, that’s the exact opposite of what happens.
Over four hours of ride time plus a couple hours standing around in the cold I was a hungry Kennett. I had no food at home so I went straight to Safeway (passing by the eco and socialy friendly co-op for the cheap food of an evil corporation–yes I see the irony). But I ate plenty of “free sample” bulk food to make up for it. And, as a gift for my protesting, the gods sent me two more strangers to help me out. One guy loaded all my food from my cart onto the conveyor belt in the checkout line while I was absent searching for some lotion. (The exact opposite thing had happened in Belgium a month ago when a guy moved my cart out of the way and took my spot in line. I had to physicall push his cart out of the way to get my stolen spot back).
Next a hot cougar gave me her reusable shopping bag so I didn’t have to ride home with all my stuff in plastic bags, which she said might rip open. So there you have it. Despite the world being run by heartless people, it’s populated by good people. The few who destroy the economy, destroy the environment, and destroy the huts in Iraq and Afghanistan to make themselves rich are few and far between. There are still plenty of good people left in the world. Rich AND poor. I’d say they make up at least 99%. Well, maybe more like 23% in reality. I was buzzed by quite a few dickless assholes in jacked-up pick up trucks today.
Whoa! A normal-sized picture! I just figured out wordpress’ new picture technology I think.