As it turns out, our neighbor is a household name in Washington State. We don't think about her celebrity status much, she's just the neighbor and a good one at that. She wasn't in today but still I wasn't prepared for the protesters that came by, appearing in my doorway from nowhere. They scared me to death. In a flak jacket with a wool hat pulled down low, the lead man asked to borrow some scotch tape. He took my breath away because he had a camera with a telephoto lens around his neck and at a glance, it looked like a gas mask. And there was no approach-- I did not hear him until he spoke and was standing no more than five feet away. He had come with his friends bearing a ghoulish casket for our neighbor. After a moment, I realized he was harmless so I gave him some tape and walked with him to witness the protest.
So much about this encounter surprised me. The lead man was friendly, gregarious, happy; for him, this was a party. His colleagues were rowdy, immature in a Beavis and Butthead manner. I don't know if subconsciously I was expecting Nelson Mandela or Alexander Solzhenitsyn and therefore was startled by the marked and stark contrast or if I thought that protests are solemn, dutiful affairs. They are not. These folks were on a lark and having the time of their life. Their demeanor belied their message and in the end, I shook my head at what a sophomoric, silly note this protest struck. They left a petition with a few paltry names, further denigrating their position; if they were passionate about their dismay, with a little elbow grease they could have included petitions with 1000 times more signatures. Slackers all. These people couldn't run for Tom Hayden's coffee. And it's likely the winter of their discontent will be a long one as a result.
The 'Kan EWA