Oldest Child and I marched, today. Homework, schomework, this was his civic duty—I told him it was like voting, only more interesting.
The march went really well. I had enough water and we hooked up accidentally with another family who had a videographer following them around—Older Son made sure to be in many shots, he’ll get his casting call any day now—and the older child in their family took my filk and punched it up to the next level. And she was right—why mess with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, when you can poke Obama?
Jingle bells, Bloomberg smells
Obama laid an egg
The 1 per cent
Are at the wheel
And the bankers got away—Hey!
Also gravitated towards a group of young teachers (we were embedded with the teachers union) with noise makers and a willingness to chant—most of the older teachers were chatting with each other as if they were on holiday. (*sniff* this is not a holiday people, this is a *revolution*)… Mainly I was just shocked that anybody on that street could be there and not know what the pin on my coat that said “Occupy Wall Street” meant. Really? On *this* march?)… So being with them was good and they were patient with Older Son’s screechy enthusiasm. At Union Square we listened to the bag pipers (Swords of Light… they had twin tower patches that said Never Forget) and drummers (at least two of them were infamous Zuccotti drummers but I have to give them props because they were Present and Accounted for and made a hub for people to gather around and find each other) and a police barricade between us and The Christmas Market.
So much for pretending to be a tourist.
Not that we could have, because as part of my Overprotective Protest Mom thing, I had tied a yellow balloon to Older Son’s backpack and, at his request, written a pro-Occupy message on it. Kind of hard to mingle with a giant yellow balloon on your butt.
But you know, fun as the march was, what was more interesting to me as an activist is what happened on either side of the march. For instance, that balloon was one of ten I picked up from the florist by the Subway. (Teddy’s, on the Key Food side of the street. Nice guy.) While he was cutting me some ribbons to go with my balloon, Older Son said, “Too bad you’re working here, or you could come with us to march with the protestors. That’s where we’re taking the balloons!” That potentially awkward moment (Greek neighborhood, they are proud of inventing Democracy and are as passionate about politics as they are about their grandma’s spanikopita recipe, may she rest in peace *puh* *puh*) turned into a love fest, as he called himself a strong independent and totally understood my frustration with the Democratic party and my delight that the Occupiers were trying to make it about up and down not left and right.
We were both so excited we lost track of how many ribbons he had cut, so I’m pretty sure I can wrap all my Xmas presents in gold ribbon now… and also, he gave the balloons and ribbon to us for free! (Teddy’s Florist, for all your Occupied Flower Arrangement needs…just sayin’…)
So that was very cool. Then on the way home (ow, my feet) we decided to take the bus because (ow, my feet) and the young man in front of us in line’s eyes lit up and he asked if we were Occupiers. I explained that we had just been marching and he asked us all sorts of “interested but not closely following further developments” sorts of questions and I gleefully answered them with enthusiasm and wild hand gestures (Older Son is *such* his mother’s child)… I actually feel like I did more good with those two conversations (one with old-Astoria simple-life-loving shopkeeper, one with nice-suited bespeckled new-generation young man) than all the shouting in the march.
(Though if any of the videos people took of Older Son leading chants—which he did, with enthusiasm and wild hand gestures—make it onto the searchable internets, that will probably be a useful thing, too.)
Whose bedtime? Our bedtime!