My bed is about a seven minute walk from Zucotti Park, my toothbrush too, my dog, my books, my television, my medicine cabinet, my wife, my lamps, my microwave, my sweaters, my food, my remote control, my (I know) Xbox360. Sometimes the overlap between “random collocation of things in your apartment” and “your life” can seem exact.
Even though I walk to the original OWS site every day, then, sometimes several times, I’ve never slept there. And for that reason I keep a distinction in my mind between the real protestors and myself. I suspect that in the coming years everyone will claim to have been a part of the movement, the way everyone born in 1948 went to Woodstock, because Occupy Wall Street is so self-evidently right and good, is so instantiated with genius, and the welter of corruption and money it’s protesting is so obviously wrong. But some particular prestige should obtain to the people who have actually slept in the parks, whatever city they were in. Let them be counted.
Nevertheless, I have tried to add my voice to the stronger ones at the park. Last night I shouted along at the GA and donated to the library. I transfer a now-battered index card that says “99%” to whichever jacket or sweater I’m wearing outside. I have sketchy plans to get on one of the stationary bikes powering the generators, if they ever come back – if this sound of choppers overhead, which has filled the last day in my neighborhood, ever stops.
I think, still, that in the coming years, I’ll ask myself whether I did enough. Was I there? The answer is gentler than I thought it would be, appropriately for a movement with aspirations to the universal: almost none of us were there; but in truth almost all of us were, too.