The minute I was permitted to prison, I was pained by the possibility of public pooping.
I didn’t want to be the first occupier to occupy the half stall in the back of the cell, but I was aware that the two servings of yogurt that I had scarfed down to start the day were finding their way to the bottom of my large intestine. The farts that were sneaking out somewhat embarrassing, but I felt the farts were really just warnings of a more embarrassing situation. As I peed in anticipation of a more significant bathroom experience I noticed that there was no toilet paper sitting next to the toilet, but I didn’t want my last sentence in this paragraph to have a different form than the other two.
“Mic Check!” “We need to ask for some toilet paper.”
A few chuckles followed, but everybody knew I was deadly serious. A few people hugged me and told me that they were proud of me for speaking up.
This is what the Occupy Movement is about: reveling in the small victories that good communication affords us. We live in a world where shame rules our conversation – where we sometimes refuse to say what we want to say solely because we’re scared that people will be scared about the way we say it or the place we say it. Opinion is simply opinion – it isn’t fact. No one’s opinion is true. Just as no one’s opinion is false.
On my trip back to New York after Thanksgiving I found myself in Baltimore’s downtown just after I got off a bus looking for another bus that would take me out to a suburb where another bus that took me to NYC awaited me. As it was downtown in a major American city, there were people milling between the buildings – all with a better understanding of the public transportation of Baltimore than me. Instead I opted for trying to read maps that were new to me as my ride stopped and left. I called after Bus 35 to White Marsh, but it was too late. The next one was 20 minutes later. Just late enough to make me miss the third leg of my bus journey. Well, that was only half of it. The other half of it was that I got off three stops too early because I was too scared to ask… anything. I had overheard someone say they were going to White Marsh and just got off with them, but there were multiple stops in White Marsh and I was left with a 15 minute walk to catch up to where the bus would have taken me in 2 minutes. Once again I found myself unable to find the correct bus. It wasn’t until my third Magellanesque trip around IKEA I finally asked someone for directions. They quickly directed me toward my final leg and I was in New York 4 hours later.
My inability to create dialogue with my fellow man left me $23 poorer, an hour later, and a pound of sweat weaker.
Somehow in leaving New York I forgot what I had learned in my occupy days. I forgot to ask questions and listen for the answer. We do not live in this world by ourselves, so to think that we can solve the world’s problems by ourselves is absurd. We must work together.
Sometimes it is nice to be alone though. To allow yourself to think on your own can sometimes lead to positive results. Like this joke I thought of on my journey to the bus:
I think the existence of IKEA has to make us question the very fabric of our government, I mean now socialists are better at even capitalism.