February 16, 2003

noises made by big cats

Note to self: when going to huge protest rally, particularly huge protest rally that's going to require a whole lot of walking to get wherever it is on is going, attempt to schedule day such that one doesn't have to carry electric bass + heavy bag full of stuff everywhere. I'm doing some of the muscle-relaxation exercises I've learned in yoga, but I can practically hear my body attempting to uncrinkle itself like aluminum foil.

Some observations from the rally:

I got to 42nd St. and Lexington around 12:15--taking the 7 train in from Queens. The 7 train, around noon on a Saturday, is normally fairly empty; this one was so packed that not everyone at my station could even fit on the train.

The sidewalks of Lexington were crammed with people, virtually all of whom had some visible indication that they were going to the rally (signs, stickers, etc.). More than a few people I talked to had come from Philly or Washington, D.C. [For non-New Yorkers: the rally was on 1st Ave.; Lexington is three long blocks west of that.] We asked how we could get to the rally, and the cops at the barricades said "you need to walk up to at least 51st St. before you can get east; it might be beyond that now." By the time we'd gotten to 51st, they were saying 55th, which then became 59th, which then became 63rd, which then became 68th--but there were no barricades at Lex and 64th. (And by the time we were at Lex and 58th, the ralliers had taken over all but two lanes of traffic, too.)

I cut over to 3rd Ave. on 64th; on 3rd, the sidewalks were TOTALLY jammed, and eastward passage looked blockaded for at least a few more blocks. Everywhere there was a police barricade, there were a bunch of people saying "but how can we get to where we can see the speakers?" The answer appeared to be "you can't--there simply wouldn't be room." At that point, it was a bit after 2 PM, and I gave up and headed west and downtown to band practice.

The general mood was really heartening: "wow, there are a lot more of us than anyone thought there'd be!" I've written some harsh things about the lefty tendency toward ineffectual feel-good rallies in the past, & still believe them, but I think it was understood that this one was meant as an almost purely symbolic gesture, and an important one. Still, I was hoping for more genuinely clever or convincing slogans/signs--didn't see a lot of those. There were a couple of people I saw with face-covering masks and huge International ANSWER signs, which creeped me out. (ANSWER does that in general.)

In the evening, I headed out to North Six to see The Reputation--got to talk to Elizabeth for a while, which is always a joy, and also talked for a while with Rachel, who I hadn't seen in ages. She mentioned that she's a non-cook & was always curious to see the cooking references here. I said "look, it's really not hard at all, and it'll save you money and make you happy and healthy," and started babbling about the importance of a good knife etc. (lately my ceramic Kyocera has been the joy of my kitchen). "That's so funny," she said--"a couple of my friends have just been taking cooking classes, and they said the first class was devoted to knife skills! That just seemed strange to me." So I ended up spending probably way too long explaining the significance of cutting things into uniform chunks quickly. File under "things I take for granted and shouldn't."

Posted by Douglas at February 16, 2003 1:00 PM
Comments

three best signs at the rally, only two real (I got up to 53rd and Lex and/or 3rd myself, kept doubling back and starting up again, left at 3pm because I was on 3 hours sleep, slept all Saturday, up 22 hours now, boy the snow is gorgeous):

imaginary sign carried by me: I CAN'T FUCKING MOVE EITHER, LADY
found on ground: U.S.A. OUT OF NORTH AMERICA
very best and most eloquent of all: FUCK THIS SHIT

Posted by: M Matos on February 17, 2003 5:24 AM

I was a big fan of the 10-year-old boy I saw holding one that read "Buy Bush a Playstation!"

But on another note-- Douglas-- do you have a good recipe for homemade paneer? That was going to be my project for today except the supermarket was closed, so now I have more time to research.

Posted by: lauren on February 18, 2003 12:19 AM
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