Sunday, January 22, 2012

Occupying Chattanooga

For not having anything that I needed to do today, it was remarkably busy.

This morning I attended Westminster, where I was able to try out using my nook as a Bible. It worked quite well. So far that's the only book I've put on it besides The Brothers Karamazov, which I bought for 99¢. It's an interesting story, and suitably depressing for me right now. I've really enjoyed using the nook so far... it unexpectedly overcame several problems I have always had with reading, such as how to hold the book comfortably and getting lost on the page. I decided quickly that I needed a case for it though, and also wanted to see what was different about using it at a Barnes and Nobel Cafe. This meant a trip to Chattanooga.

I went by way of Hixson, where I was almost killed in two separate incidents of road rage. I stopped at Target and bought a lamp for my room, which I had been wanting for a long time and then went to Moe's. At Moe's the cashier looked at me funny for a very long and awkward, moment as if trying to make up his mind about something, and then asked me if anyone had ever told me that I look like Michael Cera. Too my knowledge no one has, and what's more I'm very okay if it stays that way.

I don't really see it.
After Barnes & Nobel, where there was no room to sit in the cafe, and it took me forever to decide which case to get, I drove across the city to Fletcher Hall at UTC. I'm taking a very long, very intense exam there in a few weeks and decided that I had better figure out where it is now so that I don't have to worry about it the morning of.  After locating the building, parking, and finding it unlocked, I let myself inside and looked around for a few minutes.

From there I headed across town to the Greenlife, the only grocery within 100 miles that sells the kind of oatmeal that I like to eat for breakfast. On the way there, I drove past the city Court House, and saw a dozen or so tents in the yard in front of it, banners, and a small group of people holding signs. Could this be Occupy?

Intrigued, I parked half a block away, walked up to the site, and asked: "So are you guys like, Occupy Chattanooga?". As it turned out, they were indeed, and they informed me that they were about to have their weekly General Assembly in just ten minutes and I was welcome to join them. So I stood there in the relative cold and more-than-relative cigarette smoke for about an hour while they talked about drafting a petition to end campaign contributions over $100, whether or not people with firearms should be asked to leave the premise of their encampment, and whether it was appropriate for them to have their literature set up at the UTC Young Democrats table.

Even though there were only about 20 of us standing in a circle in the middle of the lawn of the Chattanooga Courthouse, they still used the code of hand signals (jazz fingers for applause, a chopping gesture for 'object' and raising your hand to speak) that I understand was developed for use in New York when there were thousands of people who couldn't hear each other. While on the one hand, this seemed a little hilarious, it worked well, and by the end of the assembly, I decided that it was actually a kind of interesting way of making decisions.

One thing that struck me was the diversity of people who were there. There were obviously the college students and "professional activist" types that you would expect, but there were also a good number of younger professional people and middle-aged folks as well.

So it was interesting... and all because I just happened to drive by.


Lindsay Eryn said...

I love those drive-by adventures. I'm glad you stopped to observe and thanks for telling about it. I've half wished I could stop in on one of the Occupy meetings, too.

Maryah said...

Maybe with the fact that you and Michael Cera are both boys, one year apart and have nearish the same hair color is enough for some people to think that you look alike. However, its not reallly working for me.

Scout said...

That's so interesting! Thanks for sharing.
Also, you have the same skin tone and hair color as Michael Cera, so maybe that's what got the cashier thinking that.