I was personally Occupied last night after returning to the US from yet another effort to eat all the food and catch all the fish in Mexico. Due to a scheduling error by the California Ballet
, in which both of my Significant Other's talented daughters perform, I needed to attend a Christmas performance of "The Nutcracker" on the same evening I flew up from La Paz and had to spend two hours re-entering the country due to the Christmas crush at the border.
I was not averse to watching the ballet, which I had never before seen in its entirety, despite several efforts by my mother during my childhood to expose myself and my siblings to the work. What would happen was that all we kids would all gather around the only TV in the house, filled with apprehension about having to watch two hours of women in tiny skirts and men in tights cavorting to music we had already heard many times from my mother's previous efforts to introduce us to high culture. As the program began my father, who was never fully on board with my mother's efforts to develop a curriculum in the classics for all of us, would begin to make snickering remarks about the characters in the ballet. He was particularly contemptuous of the Sugar Plum Fairy, making constant sardonic comments that expressed his anxiety for her to appear and sarcastically averring his personal admiration for her.
When the ballet rolled around to its midpoint and the SPF did grace the stage, he would fall off of his seat with simulated appreciation. A careful observer would note that he never spilled his beer during this process. "The Sugar Plum Fairy!" he would cry, in mock ecstasy. This was enough to make my mother storm out of the room in a rage, after which we kids were free to sneak off to our rooms. In that primitive era, we didn't have computers to play on, so we had to content ourselves with performing destructive experiments on our old toys, in anticipation of getting new ones for Christmas, or simply fighting with each other. Either one was better than the "Nutcracker."
So I was merely a tad fatigued, not ballet-phobic, when I approached the San Diego Civic Center holding my Significant Other's hand with one of mine and clutching a pair of bouquets for her daughters with the other. Occupy San Diego had chosen that spot to occupy and a band of protesters, some carrying signs, some chanting, some drumming, some shouting and some simply exploring the outliers of motliness stood between us and the doors.
I had nothing against the Occupy movement until then. Unlike some of my friends, who growl that the Occupiers should just "get jobs," despite there not being any jobs to be gotten, I can see the point of being surly about bailing out big corporations
so they can turn around and propose slapping us with charges for using their debit cards.
I just don't see any use to it. If someone is sitting in his office on Wall Street, about to close a deal that will bankrupt nations and poison the Earth but personally net him enough billions to buy his own island, and he glances out his office window and sees someone with dreadlocks shaking a sign, is he going to think Oh, no, I'd better not do this?
If the Occupiers want to influence history, they need to become the Tea Party of the left and find themselves candidates for office that are willing to cheerfully destroy the national economy for a set of irrational beliefs and conflicted principles. Otherwise they're just getting Maced for no reason.
As we approached the door, however, an androgynous protester ran up to us and slapped me right on the plastic wrap of the bouquets. Apparently, by carrying flowers to the ballet, I had become part of the 1%.
Please send me a check.
I reacted as any rational, tired human being who does not like taking feces from anyone would. I invited my assailant to enjoy intercourse with him or herself. He/she responded with the same invitation directed at me.
The incident ended non-violently, mostly because there were two San Diego police officers standing in front of me and I did not want to be taken in for political brawling when I was supposed to be at the ballet, which would have gotten me into major trouble with my S.O. Also, since Occupy gets lots of media coverage, I could have achieved national renown for doing something stupid, something which is probably inevitable one day but that I have avoided so far. I was grateful for my self-restraint when the above-mentioned individual ignored me and started kicking down police barriers and screaming at them when they fell, which made it obvious he/she wasn't a real Occupier but a downtown schizophrenic just attracted to the fun.
When the theater emptied out, the Occupiers were still hanging. It, after all, is the only job they have. One of them started yelling that the mayor of San Diego was owned by the Mexican drug cartels.
"You can Google it!" was her argument.
I wasn't entirely convinced. Just because you can Google it doesn't make it true. There's a motto for our times.